Rabid Habs

Brighter Than Sunshine

Habs' Alexei Emelin

“To win hockey games, you need some breaks and tonight, we didn’t have any breaks. We hit the crossbar. You need the breaks and you need the right call at the right time and we didn’t get the right call at the right time.” – Michel Therrien

In the last game of their four-game road trip, the Montreal Canadiens will be up against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on Tuesday night. After a slightly disastrous four to two loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night, the Canadiens would have the opportunity to distance themselves atop the Atlantic Division standings with a win against the Panthers at the BB&T Center, a win that would break the 93 point tie between Montreal and Tampa. For the Habs, Therrien’s troops have come out as a weak contender for first place in the East as of late. However, last night’s game against Tampa showed the Canadiens playing some of the best hockey in the last 30 minutes of the game, almost taking away any attention from the poor play shown in the first period. If the Habs could perform the way they did in last night’s third period against the Panthers, the team may have a chance to take home a win and keep their number one spot. The Habs will also have Dustin Tokarski in net tonight instead of Carey Price, who needs a much needed break from playing “game saviour.” On the other side of the ice, Florida are still fighting for a wildcard spot, sitting at number 20 in the league and number six in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers are also dealing without their main goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya, who were both injured on March 3rd and now have Dan Ellis taking over between the pipes (winning three of his last give starts and losing two to one against the New York Rangers on Sunday). If there is any hope the Canadiens have for Tuesday night’s game, they only way they’ll accomplish anything is to change up their game, get points on the board early, and play a full 60 minutes without giving up after the first 20 or else Montreal will sink deeper into the trouble they’ve already created.

The Panthers held a real quick pace to the start of the first period, while the Habs were able to finally get their skates moving and caught up to the Panthers offensive attempts despite a slow start (giving up 11 shot attempts in the first 10 minutes). While the period ended scoreless, the Canadiens were able to snag a power play right before the end of the shift and may have a good chance at putting points on the board.

With the Panthers successfully killing off the Habs’ power play and creating great pressure against the team on the forecheck, Aleksander Barkov (assisted by Jonathan Huberdeau) gave Florida their first goal of the night just four minutes and 20 seconds into the second period. However, just a minute later Alexei Emelin (assisted by Brandon Prust and Dale Weise) gave the Canadiens a great first goal of the night and got his third of the year, which was then followed by a short-handed goal from Jacob De La Rose (assisted by Brandon Prust) on the Panthers power play at 11 minutes and 37 seconds. With half of the period remaining, the Panthers fought to put the puck past Dustin Tokarski which Brandon Pirri 9assisted by Brad Boyes and Nick Bjugstad) made happen with only six minutes and 25 seconds left. However, the Canadiens were able to respond just a minute after as P.K. Subban snapped an 8th game goal with 4 minutes and 36 seconds left (assisted by Jacob De La Rose and Lars Eller). The second period was solid for the Habs as they left the ice with a three to two lead.

While both the Panthers and the Habs were putting on great pressure and creating good opportunities in front of the nets, Florida were stepping on the gas and keeping the pucks coming back to the Montreal zone, attempting to tie the game. However, the Montreal Canadiens were able to keep their three to two lead and beat the Florida Panthers.

Here are my thoughts about tonight’s game.

  • *just picture the gif screaming “FINALLY!”*

The Montreal Canadiens play the Carolina Hurricanes at the Bell Centre on Thursday at 7:30pm.

(Purchase your Canadiens tickets here. | Achetez vos billets des Canadiens ici.)

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @EarlxGreat.