Rabid Habs

Surfing In A Hurricane Pt. II

Habs' Dale Weise

“Sometimes, it’s just a matter of playing smarter. You can work hard, but you also have to work smart, making sure you’re putting the puck in good positions and retrieving it so you’re not always on defense and you’re not always chasing the game.” – P.K. Subban

The last time the Montreal Canadiens and the Carolina Hurricanes met on December 29th, the Canadiens won three to one against the Hurricanes at the PNC Arena. Tonight in their final meeting of the 2014-15 season, the Habs will be looking to hold another win over Carolina at the Bell Centre. It was on Tuesday night that the Canadiens beat the Florida Panthers three to two on the last day of their three-game road trip and with the Hurricanes ranked 26th in the league with just 61 points in the standings, tonight the Habs will have the opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time in March (their last string of wins took place between February 21 and 28, winning four in a row) as well as playing a better game when you take into consideration that the Hurricanes aren’t in any kind of rush to get into a playoff spot. This also gives goaltender Carey Price the chance at a 39th win this season. However, the Habs, while collecting points, have been annihilated in puck possession and shots, making their goals seem more “lucky” that “hard working.” On the other side of the ice, the Hurricanes lost two to one against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night but will still be keeping Anton Khudobin in net, making this his third-straight start for the Hurricanes after giving up just two goals in each of his last two starts. While the Canadiens have won both games against Carolina this season, they will have to step up their game while earning points, especially if they want to outdo the New York Rangers, the St. Louis Blues, and the Tampa Bay Lighting who are tied with the Canadiens at 95 points.

The Montreal Canadiens seemed a lot fresher than Tuesday night in the first period, as the great work from the fourth line led to Dale Weise giving Habs their first goal of the night just five minutes and 51 seconds in (assisted by Manny Malhotra and Brandon Prust), which was then followed by Brendan Gallagher‘s solid 20th goal of the season three minutes later (assisted by Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty). With Carey Price barely having to hold the Habs up (stopping only four shots), the Canadiens ended the solid first period with a two to nothing lead.

There was a strong force coming once again from the fourth line, who were able to snag a third goal in wiith just one minute and 12 seconds left thanks to David Desharnais, who gave a Tom Gilbert pass a hard tap into the Carolina net (also assisted by Dale Weise). The Hurricanes were still struggling to generate any points, while the Canadiens proved that hard work really does pay off and left the second period with a three to nothing lead.

It was nothing but bad luck for Carolina as the Canadiens were keeping play on point while the Hurricanes were struggling in both generating offense and defense, putting points on the board, and once again dealing with the Habs fourth line dominating their zone. Despite killing off the Canadiens power play, Max Pacioretty put a big shot past Anton Khudobin with just (assisted by Tomas Plekanec) five minutes and 14 seconds left of the third period, giving the Habs a four goal lead. With just two minutes left of the game, the Carolina Hurricanes were trying their best to wake up and put the puck past Carey Price, however with great offense and defense on the ice, the Montreal Canadiens denied any goal chances for Carolina and took home a four to nothing win.

Here are my thoughts about tonight’s game.

  • Nothing beats a Montreal Canadiens/Carolina Hurricanes game because it’s so easy for the Canadiens to win. When it comes to a game against Carolina, you’ll always see a better effort made by Montreal, especially when it comes to generating offense and having proper puck possession, not to mention that Carey Price had one of the easiest games of the season. Being able to say that Price wasn’t the whole reason behind the Canadiens winning is a breath of fresh air. Also, a back-to-back win isn’t too bad at all.

 

  • There are 10 games left until the playoffs start, which means a lot of fans are already starting to make predictions as to what will happen to the Canadiens (including a lot of predictions that the Habs will not be getting the cup). While I agree the Canadiens have struggled quite a bit this season, they’ve still come out on top and have slightly improved in some areas. Could the Canadiens make it far in the playoffs? Sure! Could the Habs win the cup this year? Sure! Anything is possible and there may be a whole surprise for Habs fans. What are your predictions? Tweet me and let me know.

The Montreal Canadiens play the San Jose Sharks at the Bell Centre on Saturday at 7:00pm.

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

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @EarlxGreat.