Friday, January 25, 2008

Habs Break Jersey Curse, Win 4-3

*Hamrlik and teammates Sergei Kostitsyn (right) and Chris Higgins celebrate the latter's eventual game-winning powerplay goal, as the Habs break a huge slump at the swamp. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, courtesy

The Habs came into New Jersey on a bad note, but used the 3rd period to score 3 goals to eventually come back from 2 goals down and win the game by a 4-3 scoreline, stretching their road record to 17 wins this season.

Bryan Smolinski got the first two Habs goals, and slumping forwards Koivu and Higgins got the equalizing and winning goals respectively. Montreal outshot New Jersey by a stunning 32-13 count, including outshooting them 20-3 in the third period.

New Jersey's loss was the first loss to the Canadiens in the last nine meetings overall and only the second in the last 20 in New Jersey.

The Habs' powerplay went a measley 1-for-7, but that 1 powerplay goal was the one that put the Habs up for the first time in the game with 5:29 remaining in regulation, and stood up as the game winner.

The Devils seemed to get lazy to start a third period in which they carried a two goal lead. They took the only 5 penalties of the 3rd period, putting the habs in a great position to take the lead, as they eventually did on Higgins' marker.

Coach Brent Sutter was furious with his teams lack of effort and discipline, and immediately sent the team to practice on the auxiliary rink following the final buzzer of the game.

"I'm disappointed in the whole team and its commitment to win. Their play was brutal. They already had their plans to head to (Las) Vegas or wherever the hell they're going before the game was half over. It's totally unacceptable. Everything it takes to win a hockey game, we didn't do. It was a total lack of effort from everyone."

"For whatever reason, we had a lot of guys who wanted to do their own thing out there," Sutter said. "We had a 2-0 lead and had a 5-on-3 power play and had four or five quality scoring chances, but they were thinking of themselves instead of the team. We've had two-goal leads in our building and let them slip. It shows a lack of commitment to want to play. It tells you that this is not a mentally strong hockey team."

Added Sutter, "To be honest, they should be embarrassed. It's hard for me to sit on this for four days. It sure as hell better be hard on them as well. We were brutal."

The NHL now rests as the All-Star weekend is upon us. The Habs play again on Tuesday, at home to host Washington in the first game of a home-and-home with the Capitals.


kevin said...

I may be a little late with this and it might be off topic but that Motteau guy shouldn't be wearing #27 for new jersey. Even though Neidermayer walked on the team they HAVE to eventually retire his jersey for everything he did there.

sasabainga said...


COMPLETELY agree with you on that...In fact, I hadn't really realized it.

There are a few players in the league that shouldn't be wearing the numbers that they are on their respective teams...I just can't really think of them right now, but the main one that come to mind is Brent Seabrook's 7 in Chicago (Chris Chelios). Chelios turned 46