The Montreal Canadiens were able to top off the Washington Capitals tonight, despite being badly outplayed and outchanced throughout the game, but most evident in the 1st period of play.
"They outplayed us. They were better than us." said coach Guy Carbonneau. "We were lucky to get the points. We got a few goals here and there, but we worked for our goals."
Carbo was quick to give credit where it was due on this night, as on so many other nights. "I was anticipating he (Huet) was going to get tired at the end of the game, but he didn't," Carbonneau said. "His focus was really good. He was around the puck. He made the difference."
Cristobal Huet made 35 saves for the win. The Habs were outshot in this one by a lopsided 37-21 margin, which really goes to show that Huet is fully recovered from his groin pull which caused him to miss 6 games. Tonight's contest was Huet's second start in December.
The Habs were also solid on special teams tonight, particularly on the powerplay, as they wound up going 2-5. PP goals came from Sergej Kostitsyn, who recorded his 1st NHL goal in the victory, and the returning Guillaume Latendresse. Latendresse scored 2 goals in just over 12 minutes of ice-time. Latendresse is just 20, and he's already missed four games this season - twice as many as he did in his rookie year.
"He has to play without the puck," Carbonneau said. "Sometimes guys decide to change their style, and that's never good for the team. I think tonight he came back with a good attitude."
Guillaume's 1st goal (and the game's opening goal) came on the PP, after a questionable tripping call was assessed to Tom Poti. Latendresse took a beautiful saucer pass from behind the net courtesy of Saku Koivu, and released a quick wrister that got by Kolzig. His second goal came off a face-off win by Lapierre to the right of Kolzig. The puck went to Dandenault, who tipped it to Latendresse, who then released a wrist shot that beat Kolzig blocker side. The goal would wind up being the game-winner.
The Habs won't return to play at the Bell Centre until January 3rd vs. the Lightning. Until then, they have 5 games on the road, with 2 consective sets of games on back-to-back nights. Atlanta & Dallas are the 1st set, with the game vs. the Thrashers on Saturday, and Tampa Bay & Florida are the second set, with the Habs in Tampa on Thursday, before ending the trip on another rare Sunday matchup, this one being vs. the Rangers on December 30th.