The Montreal Canadiens let one they should of had slip away as they suffered a 4-3 shootout loss at home to the St. Louis Blues.
The victory was St. Louis' first road victory since February 14th. It was also St Louis' first win in 7 games of a 9-game road trip (1-5-1). Lastly, St. Louis held their rookie supper Sunday night, in which they tabbed a bill of over $39, 000...safe to say a hangover would likely stretch through to Wednesday.
All signs were in favour of a Canadiens victory Tuesday - and, just as fairly, it was conceivable to anticipate a rout of the Blues - but the Blues came to play, and threw everything they possibly could muster at Jaroslav Halak, handing him his first blemish on home-ice. Halak's home record has now been dented to 8-0-1, yet he is still undefeated in regulation.
The Canadiens tied the game at one on a Christopher Higgins goal, as he slid home a backhander from the foot of the crease to cap off a great effort from linemates Grabovski and Sergei Kostitsyn.
They would take their first (and last) lead of the game midway through the second period, as Saku Koivu notched a PPG (his 16th on the season) on a rebound from a superb second effort shot from Chris Higgins, swatting home a loose puck off a Legace pad save into the empty net.
However, less than a minute later, Andy McDonald would completely surprise Halak with a slap-shot from the right wing that beat Jaroslav up high.
Before the second period could end, Brad Boyes was the recipient of a sublime and vintage-like pass from playmaker extraordinaire Paul Kariya, who collected a loose puck beneathe the Habs goal line and spun around to pass to Boyes who was waiting on the doorstep, unmarked. The goal was Boyes' 38th of the season (Let's not forget, the Bruins dealt this guy for DENNIS WIDEMAN).
The Habs needed an equalizer in the third, and they would eventually get it courtesy Grabovski's 2nd of the season, as he accepted another stand-out pass from young Sergei Kostitsyn and ripped home a wirster that beat Manny Legace top corner early in the frame.
The goal would hold up to earn Montreal a point, and in overtime, Montreal was the only dangerous team on the ice. Despite the shots being 3 apiece in OT, the Habs dominated puck possession in the extra frame, but were simply unable to convert their efforts into goals, leading to a shootout.
In the shootout, Brad Boyes would prove to be the only goalscorer, going backhand and lfting the puck off the post, off Halak and in in the second round. After A.Kostitsyn and Kariya missed their turns, it was up to Kovalev.
Kovy skated in with a packed house of 21, 273 behind him and hundreds of thousands more cheering on from living rooms and bars across the city...he moved to his backhand, seemed to have Legace beat, but couldn't quite get the puck to lift, eventually grazing Legace's ice-bound pad and sailing the puck wide of the net.
The Blues had stolen an extra point from them in Montreal, despite all the adversity they faced. Credit must be given to them; they came in trying to play the spoiler in a forgettable season, and did so in fashion, as this one extra point can go a very long way in determining Montreal's playoff seeding and possible home-ice advantage.
Montreal went 2-1-1 on their four-game homestand which concluded last night.
The Canadiens now lead Ottawa by 3 points, but the Sens have a game in hand.
The Habs next visit Boston Thursday, before returning home to host Boston on Saturday. Boston is currently 7th with 83 points, 3 ahead of 9th seeded Washington.
Montreal's 8 remaining games are vs. Division rivals, as they will face Boston, Ottawa, Toronto and Buffalo twice each, with both games alternating between cities perfectly.