Habs Clip Wings
The unfortunate thing about this game - Nicklas Lidstrom did not play at the Bell Centre. The stalwart on defense for the Red Winds missed only his 31st game in 21 years. Unfortunate that in this unbalanced schedule he missed the only time he was to play in Montreal in a couple of seasons. Campoli and Nokelainen were the scratches for the hometown heroes on this game.
The first period began with the home side showing speed and intensity - something that has been sorely lacking on a lot of the games in the first half of this season. The first goal was scored by the Habs by Bourque on a pass from Diaz and beautiful play by Gomez who controlled the puck and entered the Red Wing territory with speed. The passed deflected off the leg of Bourque behind Howard. The second goal of the game came on a pass from Kostitsyn to the point and a great shot from the rookie defenseman Emelin (the first of his career in the NHL) with Kostitsyn and Eller in front of the net screening Howard. With less than two minutes to play in the first period the Habs increased their lead to 3-0 on a nice change of pace from Desharnais with assist going to Cole. Then in the last half-minute of play Plekanec scored on assists from Bourque and Kaberle to add to the score. At the end of the first period the Habs had a 4-0 lead on the Red Wings.
The second period had a new goalie for the Red Wings with Conklin relieving a reeling Howard. On the first shot of the second period Pacioretty put the puck past a sprawling Conklin to add to the lead with assists going to Desharnais and Cole. And the power play got into the act with a rare goal from Desharnais - his second of the game with assists going to Pacioretty and Kaberle. The Habs carried the play to the league leading Red Wings for two complete periods.
At the beginning of the third period, the Red Wings came out flying and scored the first two goals of the period in the first 6 minutes. Both goals came courtesy of Hudler - the first on assist by Helm and the second with assists from Commodore and Kronwall. The Habs then played a safe defensive game and managed to score another goal near the end of the period by Cole with an assist by Eller.
It was a nice game by the Habs who used their speed and moved their feet and went to the net. The league leading Red Wings seemed to take the Habs for granted and Howard did not have his best game to be sure. The bottom line is that the Habs managed two important points against the best team in the league at the moment.
Now going into the all-star break on a bit of a roll.é It was nice to see. The only thing missing was a goal by Gomez. Would have loved to write that up.