Canadiens Win Streak Ends
The Carolina Hurricanes paid a visit to the Bell Centre on Monday night for a game with the Montreal Canadiens. Each team has been struggling this year, but it was the Hurricanes who came out with a win on this night, something that hasn't been easy to come by for the Hurricanes this season. It was a close match the whole way but in the end the Canadiens weren't able to score that final goal to tie the game, as the Hurricanes went on to win by a score of 5-3.
It was the Hurricanes who opened up the scoring early in the first period as Jiri Tlusty tipped in a shot from defenseman Bryan Allen just three minutes into the game. While that was the only goal to be seen in the opening period, there was a lot more where that came from. The Hurricanes went up by two with a goal from former Canadien Jaroslav Spacek, who netted just his second of the campaign on the power play. The Canadiens would not be silenced as they roared back with three straight goals coming from Tomas Plekanec, Erik Cole and David Desharnais to give the Habs their first lead of the game. The third period, however, was all Carolina. Eric Staal scored a shorthanded marker early in the period to tie the game at three a piece, while Jamie McBain would score on the power play to return the Hurricanes lead. Despite a great effort, the Canadiens weren't able to score with the extra attacker, and Eric Staal made them pay as he scored the empty netter to cement the win for his team.
After having a great week which included two shutouts, Carey Price struggled in this game. While he did very well and looked solid throughout the game, he will certainly be unhappy with the fact that he allowed four goals. However, they did come on 34 shots, a lot to deal with for any goalie in the league. He was pulled for the extra attacker with a minute and a half remaining in the third, while the teams played 4 on 4 hockey. At times it looked like the Habs would tie the game and send it to overtime, but it wasn't meant to be as the Hurricanes – sitting in the basement of the East – picked up the two points.
After securing the victory on Monday night, the Hurricanes pull within one point of the Buffalo Sabres. The bottom of the East is actually incredibly close, with the bottom five teams all within two points of each other. Of that group it is the Canadiens who have the best chance to make anything out of the season, but it would take a huge amount of effort, and a lot of luck for that to happen. While they are just seven points out of eighth, the eighth place Toronto Maple Leafs have two games in hand, as do the ninth place Washington Capitals who are also fighting for a spot in the post-season.
While the game was very close and came right down to the wire, the Canadiens four-game win-streak came to an end on Monday night at the hands of Eric Staal and his Carolina Hurricanes. However, the Canadiens must put tonight's disappointment behind them as they have a battle with the rival Boston Bruins on Wednesday night that will certainly be a must-win.