Habs This Week: Positivity Reigns Despite...Y'Know
Despite being dead last in the Eastern Conference and going 3-6-1 in their last 10, the Montreal Canadiens just completed a roadtrip that saw them earn 5 out of a possible 8 points. One could even say they've opened up and started to (dare I say it?) have fun with one month left to go in the regular season, now that less pressure is weighed on their shoulders.
Near-Comeback: Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
The Calgary Flames outscored the Canadiens 4-2 through the first two periods, and Curtis Glencross added an unassisted marker to start the third, but the momentum switched over quickly as Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty each scored goals to leave the playoff-hungry Flames scrambling to hold on for the win. While they succeeded in doing so, the Canadiens had a confident mindset heading into Edmonton.
"When you score four goals and when you throw pucks at the net and you do that stuff, we get the results," said Eller.
TOI: Subban (25:05)
SOG: Pacioretty/Plekanec (4)
Points: Pacioretty (2G), Eller (1G, 1A)
Patches' 30th: Thursday, March 8th, 2012
On the one-year anniversary of an event that remains fresh in many minds, Max Pacioretty changed the tone of March 8th by leaving the arena with his 30th goal of the season rather than on a stretcher. In doing so, he continued on his pace for 35 and to become the first Hab to reach that mark since Alex Kovalev in 2008. More importantly, it was his second two-goal performance in as many games and this time, the Canadiens were on the right side of the boxscore, snapping a four-game losing streak at Rexall Place.
Edmonton opened the scoring but a power play marker by P.K. Subban tied things up a short time later. With the teams deadlocked at two, another power play goal, this time off the stick of Tomas Kaberle, and two minutes later Eller all but sealed the deal with a wrister that went past Nikolai Khabibulin. Then Pacioretty's 30th, into an empty net, put the lid on the Oilers' coffin.
TOI: Subban (25:52)
SOG: Plekanec (5)
Points: Pacioretty (2G, 1A), Subban (1G, 2A)
Markov's Return: Saturday, March 10th, 2012
Nearly two full seasons have gone by without Andrei Markov, but his day finally arrived on Saturday as his name, which seemed written in stone on the IR list, was removed from it.
Jersey #79 saw life on the ice once again as his 17:09 TOI was a valuable statistic to add to Erik Cole's two goals and Blake Geoffrion's first goal as a member of the franchise that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather all played for, all in a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
It was the Canucks who found the keys to defeat as only Ryan Kesler scored for the opposition, and from then on it was all Montreal as a savvy Louis Leblanc pass found its way onto Geoffrion's stick for 1-1, Cole started the third period with a bang with his 24th, and Subban got another power play marker before Cole found the net again for the fourth unanswered goal.
TOI: Subban (21:40)
SOG: Cole/Eller (6)
Points: Cole (2G), Pacioretty (2A)
In the Clutch: Tuesday, March 12th, 2012
This time, Montreal was the team who opened the scoring, but didn't score another goal until less than four seconds remained in regulation time. Tyler Ennis scored two goals to put the Sabres on top until David Desharnais, who had left the Canucks' game with an injury on Saturday, made his return and celebrated in style as a mad scramble in the final minute worked in the Habs' favour and put the Sabres in a tricky position.
It was another Tyler, Myers, that put the game away for Buffalo in the extra frame. But his and the Sabres' celebration may be shortlived as he faces a hearing today for an earlier hit on Canadiens' forward Scott Gomez.
TOI: Subban (23:18, five seconds more than Plekanec!)
SOG: Pacioretty (5)
Points: Cole (1G, 1A), Desharnais (1G, 1A)
vs. Ottawa Senators, Wednesday, March 14th
@ Ottawa Senators, Friday, March 16th
vs. New York Islanders, Saturday, March 17th