Rabid Habs

Dream Warriors Pt. II: The Final Battle

Habs' Brendan Gallagher

“They’re a very physical group. I played against them a few times this season. They have talent and power. We’ll have to play a physical game and cause traffic. We could potentially play them in the playoffs. It will be just like a playoff game.” – Devante Smith-Pelly

In their sixth last game of the regular season, the Montreal Canadiens would be looking to get back into 1st place in the Eastern Conference all while battling the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre on Thursday night. The Canadiens are currently sitting one point behind the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference standings and are one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning with a game in hand. For the Habs, winning Thursday night’s match up would be a great distraction from their five to three loss to the Lightning on Monday night (and would also mean a 200th win behind the bench for coach Michel Therrien), as well as the title for most season wins (42) for Carey Price. On the other side of the ice, the Capitals have the chance to move into second place in the Metropolitan Division with a win in Montreal which might be a tough task to accomplish, considering the team only found one puck on net once in the two games against the Habs so far this season (even Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 50th goal of the season on Tuesday night hasn’t slipped one past Price or Dustin Tokarski in 2014-15). With Montreal being one of only three teams to hold the Capitals captain scoreless this season as well as keeping the team from beating them to a pulp, there may be hope for the Canadiens after all especially with the Habs having almost guaranteed home-ice advantage, and with five games left, Therrien’s troops need to start exercising the demons they possess in order to be well prepared for the playoffs.

The Canadiens woke up late in the first period, grabbing a power play with just nine minutes left. The Habs took a good few (blocked) shots at the Washington net, but the Capitals were able to effectively kill off the power play. The period as a whole seemed very calm as only six shot attempts came from the Capitals while four came from the Habs. While Washington is known for having the 7th most goals in the league, the Habs were able to keep them out of the Montreal zone for a majority of the period and successfully limiting their chances to put pucks on net. The Canadiens got a second chance at a first goal of the night after a holding call against the Capitals gave them a second power play with just one minute left, but the troops ran out of time and the period was left scoreless.

Jeff Petry got his second goal (his first back-to-back goal) in his Habs sweater just 58 seconds in (assisted by Alex Galchenyuk and P.K. Subban). The Capitals were facing limited offense, but Joel Ward was able to tie the game with a quick wrister with nine minutes and 24 seconds left of the second period. Washington also followed their first goal up with Alex Ovechkin’s 51st goal of the year with just five minutes and 50 seconds on the power play (assisted by John Carlson and Braden Holtby), after improving their puck possession and keeping the pressure on the Canadiens. 39 seconds later, a beautiful goal snapped by Tom Gilbert (assisted by P.A. Parenteau and Alex Galchenyuk) put the Habs back on the map, and Lars Eller (assisted by Dale Weise and P.K. Subban) go the Canadiens back in the lead with just with one minute and 21 seconds left, ending the period three to two.

With their third power play of the night near the midway mark, the Canadiens created some good chances in front of the Washington net but were unable to get the power play goal they wanted. Both the Capitals and the Habs were setting the pressure high, while the Capitals were able to keep great puck possession despite the Canadiens keeping the pucks coming back to the Washington zone. Alex Ovechkin was able to get his second power play goal of the night, putting the game to a three-three tie with just eight minutes and 54 seconds left, which was then followed by a third power play goal from Joel Ward with seven minutes and 41 seconds to go, putting the Capitals at four to three. The Canadiens got the opportunity to put pucks on net on the power play with five and a half minutes left, which worked out well thanks to P.K. Subban’s top corner rocket (assisted by Andrei Markov and Max Pacioretty). It was a mad scramble on the ice for a tie breaker but the clock ran out and the game was going into overtime.

With no success in overtime, the game went straight to the shootout where Troy Brower gave the Washington Capitals the five to four win over the Montreal Canadiens.

The Montreal Canadiens play the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on Thursday at 7:00pm.

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

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @EarlxGreat.