Gomezversary Sparks Canadiens Against Jets
Those who follow hockey, and specifically the Montreal Canadiens, know perhaps all too well that February 5th, 2012 has a particular meaning other than Super Bowl XLVI. It is, of course, in reference to February 5th, 2011, which was the last time that highest-paid Hab Scott Gomez scored a goal.
In the days leading up to Gomezversary, many of these followers as well as those of rival teams have had their fun in cheering/jeering the Canadiens' number 11. But it's all just an eight-million dollar mask covering up the real issue: Montreal has lost every game coming out of the All-Star Break, most recently a paltry showing against the Washington Capitals that saw them shut out 3-0. The positivity and smiles from the 7-2 thrashing of the Detroit Red Wings have all melted away since then as the Habs sat in 28th spot coming into this game against the Winnipeg Jets.
For a minute, though, the cheering/jeering looked like it would subside for both elements of frustration.
Max Pacioretty opened the scoring in the first period off a play that looked like David Desharnais tap the puck in via the front of the net, but was later ruled to have gone in off Jets' goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. Aaron Palushaj picked up an assist, his first NHL point, on the play. During the third penalty taken by the home club (and second by Andrei Kostitsyn), a surprise shorthanded chance by Alexei Emelin translated into a two-goal lead off a nice feed from Tomas Plekanec. The goal was Emelin's second of the season.
Then, for the first time in the second period and the game, a power play was awarded to the Canadiens. A shot from Tomas Plekanec looked like it deflected in the front of the net and behind Pavelec...off a stick belonging to red jersey number 11.
The Bell Centre took an unusual amount of time in announcing said goal. In the end it was given to Plekanec, who now had a multi-point game for the first time in over a month and a half. The Habs headed into the second intermission up 3-0, and despite fans' efforts, the Gomez drought continued.
Some of the overall fire may have been lost in the dressing room, as much of the first half of the last twenty minutes were spent in the zone a little too close for comfort for Carey Price's liking. But the Habs kept things rolling despite being outshot 8-1 in the final period, and Price was able to pick up his 15th career shutout.
The Canadiens' homestand continues into Tuesday, when the Pittsburgh Penguins are in town. On Thursday night, the Habs roll into Nassau Coliseum to face the New York Islanders before heading to the Air Canada Centre on Saturday for Hockey Day In Canada, where they'll face the Toronto Maple Leafs.
★Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens (23 saves, 1.000 SV%)
★★Tomas Plekanec, Montreal Canadiens (1G, 1A, +1 , 1 SOG, 23:46 TOI)
★★★Alexei Emelin, Montreal Canadiens (1G, +1, 2 SOG, 16:41 TOI)
Shots on Goal