New Years Eve Tradition - Habs Lose Again
New Years Eve tradition continues for Les former Glorieux. For as long as I can remember the Habs have played a game on New Years Eve. Up until a few years ago the Habs played the Flames in Calgary. Lately they have been on a southern swing during the week between Christmas and New Years ending in Sunrise Florida. This one had some promise as the only former Habs goalie that does not play like the reincarnation of Georges Vezina was starting in nets for the Panthers - Jose (Three-or-more) Theodore.
The first period started off okay for the Habs, scoring the first goal of the game. On a shot from Travis Moen on a pass from Lars Eller and Tomas Kaberle just over five and a half minutes into the game. It was a shot that eluded Jose Theodore. The first period also featured some hard spectacular hits on both sides of the puck. The end of the first was marred by an altercation involving PK Subban and Erik Gudbranson when each player received a double minor. On the way off the ice one of the linesmen skated over to the Panthers bench and assessed a game misconduct to Krystofer Barch. Apparently the linesman heard a racial slur directed at PK Subban. There may be further action on this incident in the next couple of days.
In the second period the Panthers capitalized on a power play on the normally stingy Canadiens when Tomas Fleishmann sniped a shot passed Carey Price. The rest of the period was an energetic, hard hitting affair. Jose Theodore was taken from the game when he was plawed by his own team mate with a lower body injury. Scott Clemmensen came into the game and played quite well.
The third period featured dominence by the home team with Shawn Matthias hitting the twine behind Carey Price on a shot I am sure he would have like back. It was a weak goal - he went to flash the leather to make the save and missed it. The announcers on CBC said it was tipped by PK Subban's stick on its way in but I did not see the tip and it should have been caught. The rest of the period featured the habs on their heels and the Panthers pressing to add to their lead. With Carey Price on the bench for an extra attacker, Tomas Plekanec (who had yet another weak game) fumbled the puck on the blue line and Tomas Fleishmann streaked down teh side and buried it in the empty net for his second of the game 3-1 Panthers at 19:19 of the third period. The Habs then started pressing very hard and Erik Cole potted the 200th goal of his career with a half minute remaining in the game. The habs then continmued to press for the tying goal to no avail.
This is the first time I can remember that a winning goal was scored on an empty net. But there you have it - there is a first time for everything.
Now Les Boys have a few days off and are back at the Centre Bell Centre on Wednesday.