Whitby - January 26, 2012 - The Montreal Canadiens started Wednesday evening’s contest firing on all cylinders against the NHL’s Western Conference leading Detroit Red Wings and never looked back, closing the NHL regular season down for the All-Star Break with a convincing 7 - 2 victory at the Bell Centre.
Not sure if my article from this past Monday gave the Canadiens some extra added oomph to prove something to their fans, but Montreal’s best players came to the rink on Wednesday night with something to prove.
The Canadiens were electric in the opening frame, scoring four goals and eventually chased Detroit Red Wing’s starting goaltender Jimmy Howard to the showers after only 20 minutes of play. Ty Conklin came into the game in relief, but really made no difference in the outcome of the contest.
The announced three stars of the game were Montreal’s Alexei Emelin (3rd star, 1st NHL career goal), Rene Bourque (2nd star, one goal, one assist) and centreman David Desharnais (1st star, two goals, one assist). The Bell Centre was sold out yet again with 21,273 spectators in attendance.
Both Carey Price and rookie sensation Raphael Diaz head to Ottawa for the All Star festivities while the rest of their teammates enjoy an extended holiday until next Monday when the Canadiens reconvene for a team practice. The Canadiens next host the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
Please check out the NHL.com Boxscore link for complete statistics from last night’s game:
View from the Whitby cheap seats
The Canadiens’ line of Andrei Kostitsyn, Lars Eller and Michael Blunden were incredible against the Pavel Datsyuk line last night. The three effectively shut that line down completely.
I sound like a broken record, but every game Eller plays, the more I become a staunch supporter of his keen hockey sense and drive. This kid is a keeper!
Top Line Best Line - Since When?
Dare I say it, but Montreal’s top line of Erik Cole, David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty are magnifique! Two of three own the size and three of the three own the skill. Let us hope the Canadiens’ coaching staff never splits them up. This is Montreal’s best line in some time.
Erik Cole continues to remain red-hot while Max Pacioretty is playing like a demon possessed. Pacioretty was a physical force again on Wednesday night and continues to be the first to the puck nearly every time against any opponent. Desharnais dazzled up the middle again last night; alright, everywhere but in the faceoff circle where he was only 6-for-13.
Gomez a Gomer no more?
Let us be honest. Everyone has had their say about the ineffectiveness of Scott Gomez over the past couple of seasons.
Let us also give him credit when it is due. Gomez still has blazing speed and it showed last night in the first period on his end-to-end rush down the left side and wristed a shot at Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard that Habs’ teammate Rene Bourque potted behind Howard. That my friends was poetry in motion.
Gomez finished a plus+1 on the evening, had two blocked shots and saw 15:23 of icetime.
Subban on the trade block?
You heard it here first - P.K. Subban will NOT be traded. Rumours have begun to swirl that this former first rounder could be headed out of Montreal to greener pastures. Give this kid a break - I watched him play his junior hockey for Belleville and he dominated every game I saw, both offensively and defensively - the kid is a phenom.
Yes, he took a selfish elbowing penalty in the first period last night and only saw 14 minutes of icetime, but Subban is like a fine wine - he will only get better with age and experience. Canadiens’ fans should consider themselves lucky to have such a talent on their blue line.
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…