Rabid Habs

Run Devil Run

Habs' Carey Price

“Every goalie in this league is capable of putting up big games and he’s no different from anyone else, but we just try to worry about our game and not worry about who we’re facing.” – Max Pacioretty

After ending 2014 on a high note, the Montreal Canadiens would be looking to start off the new year in a similar fashion against the New Jersey Devils. The troops were on a four-game win streak after dominating the Florida Panthers in a 2-1 shootout win, and what a better way to celebrate 2015 and Carey Price’s 400th career game than to come into the Prudential Center and aim for a fifth win. The New Jersey Devils had dropped two of their last three games since former coach Peter DoBoer was let go on December 26th, and have had a tough start to the season while sitting at number seven in the Metropolitan division. However, the upside was that the Devils have Jaromir Jagr and Marek Zidlicky, who are tied on the Devils’ scoring leaderboard with 21 points apiece. With the lines for the Montreal Canadiens having no changes, the Habs had the opportunity to win over the Devils, but they would need to keep their eyes peeled for Jagr, Zidlicky, and former-Habs sharp shooter Michael Cammalleri (who leads New Jersey with 11 goals in just 27 games this season). The Canadiens would also need to play sharp and work hard to get pucks past the Devils in order to reclaim their spot atop the Eastern Conference.

The opening 15 seconds of the first period were wild as the Canadiens got the puck to the front of the Devils’ net right away. The Habs were determined to keep the pucks deep in the New Jersey zone and put tremendous pressure on the forecheck, but despite their best efforts the Canadiens and the Devils left the first period scoreless.

It was a great start to the second period as Michael Bournival (assisted by Sergei Gonchar) got his first goal of the year with 13 minutes and 29 seconds left of the period and gave the Montreal Canadiens a great start to the game. Both the Canadiens and the Devils were on the hunt for the puck and time was running out. Thankfully, Max Pacioretty (assisted by P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov) released the puck quickly on Keith Kinkaid, giving the Montreal Canadiens a two nothing lead with 51 seconds left of the period. The Montreal Canadiens held their two point lead until the clock ran out.

Michael Bournival gave the Canadiens their first goal of the third period, giving him a two-goal night with only 17 minutes and 13 seconds left of the game (assisted by Alex Galchenyuk and P.K. Subban). However, it was time for the Devils to get on the scoreboard as Michael Ryder snapped one past Carey Price at 16 minutes and 39 seconds. With energy running high on both ends of the ice, the Canadiens and the Devils were speeding up and fighting to take charge of the third, which was starting to work well for the Devils as Mike Cammalleri (assisted by Jaromir Jagr and Scott Gomez) put the puck right through the legs of Price with only five minutes and 49 seconds left. New Jersey was only down by one, and the Canadiens were fighting to keep themselves two points ahead. The Devils were keeping the puck deep in the Montreal zone and even though they had the right amount of pressure, a couple mere misses were enough to eventually set them back. With only 27 seconds left and an empty net, Tomas Plekanec gave the Canadiens a two point advantage against the Devils (assisted by Brendan Gallagher) and the Montreal Canadiens picked up yet another win, giving the Devils a run for their money.

Here are my thoughts on last night’s game:

  • What a way for Carey Price to celebrate his 400th game with a 200th win. The man is as smooth as butter. I will not be surprised if he plays his entire NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens, even into his 40’s.
  • Michael Bournival was the real star of last night’s game, picking up two goals for the Canadiens back to back. For a guy who’s regular season statistics show that he has a way of racking up the points, why aren’t we seeing more of this guy on the ice? Did Therrien see that brilliant play tonight? I sure hope so.
  • The New Jersey Devils, as much as they are a good team, really sunk low tonight which got the Canadiens to reclaim their spot atop the Eastern Conference. When you look at the standings, this was a big game for Habs which just goes to show that they really can accomplish anything they put their hard work into.

The Montreal Canadiens play the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at 7:00pm.

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures