Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Habs Come From Behind For OT Win

Carey Price stops 35 as Habs come from behind to beat Florida 2-1 in overtime. AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Who would have thought that winning a faceoff would be the WORST thing possible for a team defending a lead?

Chris Higgins was able to tie the game by whacking home (with one hand, no less) a faceoff that had been won by Florida in their own zone but failed to be neutralized by goalie Tomas Vokoun, and Alex Kovalev snapped home a wrister on a 4-on-3 powerplay in overtime as the Habs came from behind in Florida to defeat the Panthers 2-1.

The win not only gives Montreal the vital 2 points, but it snaps a 3-game losing skid.

Carey Price was absolutely huge in the contest, making 35 saves, 14 of which came in the 3rd period against a pressing Panthers squad. It also seems as though coach Carbonneau is leaning towards going with the hot hand between the pipes down the stretch, so do not be shocked to see Carey get the call Saturday as the Habs play host to Philadelphia.

The Panthers got off to a 1-0 lead in the first period, cashing in on a Steve Montador wrister on the powerplay that defelcted off of Markov's stick and beat Price.

However, the goal would be the only one for Florida tonight, and the lack of offense was magnified with Zednik and Weiss (top 5 Panthers scorers) out of the lineup.

It took 40 minutes and 20 seconds for Chris Higgins to tie the game.

On a bizarre play, the defensive zone faceoff was won by Brett McLean, but the puck hopped on edge towards Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun went down in an attempt to trap the puck in the glove, but at the PERFECT moment, the puck hopped in air and over the glove, casuing Vokoun to be completely out of position. Higgins, meanwhile, had outraced Bouwmeester towards Vokoun, and thanks to that burst, was able to whack at the puck with one hand and bat it home into the empty net for a freakish 18th goal of the season.

Koivu, who took the draw against McLean, was credited with an assist, as he was judged to have pushed McLean's stick backward on the draw.

Confusing, yes...but, the game was tied at 1, and that's what you need to know.

In overtime, the Habs came out gunning, keeping possession of the puck throughout the first minute. Koivu was able to receive a pass between a couple of defenders, and as he tried squeaking through, Jassen Cullimore "a sorti le crochet" (applied the hook) and took a soon-to-be costly penalty.

The Habs set up with Koivu, Smolinski, Markov and Kovalev, and it was the latter taking a feed from Koivu and, after displaying some trademark patience, unloaded a trademark snap shot through Brayn Allen's legs and past the screened Vokoun for the win.

The goal was Kovy's 26th on the season.

Koivu has two assists in the outing.

Higgins has now scored in back to back games.

Markov has 10 points in his last 11 games.

Montreal's win coupled with Ottawa's OTL in Jersey moves the Habs to within 4 of the Conference lead.


- Thankfully, the eventful stay in Florida is over with. The Habs came away with 2 points of a possible 4, and they came against the only NHL team who owns an over .500 record against the Habs in the regular season lifetime. The Habs played well tonight, but have Carey Price and a lucky bounce to thank as well.

- Saku Koivu did it again. Despite playing a good game, Koivu took a hooking penalty with 3:39 remaining in a tied 3rd period. Luckily, his 'mates bailed him out, or he would have CERTAINLY been front page material tomorrow morning. Koivu now has 75 PIM...75! That is 4th most amongst ALL NHL centermen!


jerrytuts said...

im not impressed at all with the win against florida. If it wasnt for a freak bounce and an overtime power-play we would have 4 straight losses. the habs were lucky to be down by only one goal because Price decided to show up. A team that is chasing 1st in the division and 4th in its conference should be able to generate at least 3 goals against a team out of the playoffs (for now).
I can count 4-5 games that the habs blew in the third period this season that resulted in throwing away 2 pts or settling with only 1 pt.
All they did was get lucky and screw Floirda due to some luck.....but how many times has montreal screwed itself. Looks like for every 4 games they throw away they steal 1.
dont get me wrong i love the habs, and i appreciate the effort they put to capitalize on a lucky bounce, i just feel they should play better against non-playoff teams and gainey should make a move to get an established winger.

sasabainga said...

Jerry, I couldn't have put that any better myself.

Although I must say that BOTH teams should have been able to score 3-4 goals as they are BOTH chasing division leads. The goalies were really on their games though tonight.

Agreed that the game wasn't the best effort, but it usually isn't in back-to-back game night situations. They did in fact steal the 2 points, but these steals won't come every game...they got a freebie, and will have to work against a philly team saturday who will be coming into Montreal hungry to win, as they are on a losing streak of their own.

Oh, and ya, Gainey BETTER make a move...I hate getting excited with Gainey bcz you simply JUST DON'T KNOW what he will do.