Sunday, March 9, 2008

Habs Leave Hollywood On High Note

Anze Kopitar is dejected with himself; Plekanec celebrates with AK 46, as the latter notched his 21st of the season in a 5-2 win over L.A.

The Canadiens were able to put together a winning effort to improve their 4-game road trip record to 2-1 with a win over L.A. on Saturday afternoon despite being outshot for the 3rd consecutive game.
The Habs face the Anaheim Ducks tomorrw (Sunday) night at 8 p.m., after having lost to San Jose Monday and having defeated Phoenix and L.A. Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

Jaroslav Halak was between the pipes in Los Angeles for his first start of the season and first since April 5, 2007, when he was pulled after two periods in a 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers. He served as the backup the previous 22 games.

Patrice Brisebois opened the scoring 5:09 into the 2nd period after the Kings had a Tom Preissing powerplay goal disallowed in the first period on a phantom call that the referees described as "unintentional intereference" (yeah, I've never heard of it, either...but I'll take it!)
Breezer took a slap-shot to keep the puck in at the blue-line which ended up re-directing off Anze Kopitar's skates and through Kings goaltender Erik Ersberg's pads.

2:31 later, Saku Koivu re-directed a perfect slap-pass courtesy Mark Streit from the blue-line on the powerplay to extend the Habs lead over the Kings by 2 goals. The deflection beat Ersberg over the glove-shoulder, leaving Ersberg absolutely no chance for the save.

5:03 after Koivu's goal, it was Latendresse's turn to bulge the twine. Guillaume took a perfect feed from young Sergei Kostitsyn from the boards and beat Ersberg under the arm for a 3-goal Habs lead.

However, late in the 3rd, Rob Blake would make things interesting again by tallying a PP goal off a rebound from Mike Cammalleri. Anze Kopitar also drew an assist on the goal.

The Habs kicked the third period off in style, as 3:49 in, Andrei Kostitsyn would bury a puck fed to him by Tomas Plekanec. Moments earlier on the play, Andrei had rung the puck off the far post on a wrister.

Just under 3 minutes later, Anze Kopitar would score off a great pass from Patrick O'Sullivan beneathe the goal line. The goal was a result of a very solid forecheck from the young O'Sullivan, who has been showing great potential while playing alongside Kings forwards Kopitar and Brown.

With the contest deadlocked at 4-2, Tom Kostopoulos would ice it by taking a perfect feed from the end boards from line-mate Guillaume Latendresse, and potting the puck into the empty net with 1:53 remaining. The goal was the first for Kostopoulos against his former team in as many matches.

Halak was very impressive in his first start in 11 months, making 35 of a possible 37 saves. The Habs have now allowed 39, 39 and 37 shots in the 3 respective games played on their road-trip. They wound up with 5 goals on 23 shots tonight, including the Kostopoulos empty netter. Kostopoulos was in the lineup due to some disciplinary issues concerning Mikhail Grabovski.
The Gazette's Pat Hickey says Mikhail Grabovski, upset at being a healthy scratch againet the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night, left Phoenix before the team on Thursday to fly to Los Angeles to meet with his agent, Gary Greenstin. Grabovski and Greenstin met with head coach Guy Carbonneay and GM Bob Gainey on Friday morning. The team decided not to discipline the rookie, but Carbonneau said he would not play on Saturday.

Montreal went 1-for-2 on the PP, while L.A. was 1-for-5.

The Habs will head off to Anaheim to prepare for an 8 o'clock start vs. the Ducks Sunday night. The Ducks have been shutout in 2 straight, losing 3-0 and 1-0 to Chicago and Colorado, respectively. The Ducks will be without Corey Perry for 6 weeks as the latter suffered a severe laceration of the right quadricep tendon. Anaheim has since recalled Bobby Ryan from Portland.

Despite winning, Montreal (85) trails New Jersey by a point (86) with the same amount of games played in the East at 69. New Jersey were the victors of a 2-1 overtime final in Toronto on Saturday night.
Ottawa also won Saturday night in Phoenix to keep pace with Northeast leader Montreal, and they now sit 5th out East with 83 points, tied with 4th place Pittsburgh, who have a game in hand as Ottawa has played 70 (and Pittsburgh have played 69).

No comments: