This week, other than the Blackhawks absolute invincibility, the major headlines have been everyone analyzing and discussing the proposed new realignment and what the league will look like. As a Red Wings fan I’ve been especially interested in the possible changes considering we’re most likely moving to the East, which would finally put an end to the NHL not making sense by having two teams in the eastern time zone play in the Western Conference(No more 10:30 start times!). Still the main reason I support the move is because of games like the one I took in last night between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs. It seems ever since the Wings got shipped off to the West they lost the rivalries that were absolute gems with Montreal and Toronto, one thing I’ve always wanted to rekindle. Last night’s game showed how important it is to get Detroit back into the East and what games like this mean overall. Sure it’s just one of 48, but the physicality of it was not your run of the mill regular season usual. Both teams combined for 67 hits, Nashville & Anaheim came in second at 49 last night, an obvious discrepancy. This wasn’t just a battle for two points, it was one for revenge considering Toronto took Montreal down twice in the Bell Centre, 2-1 and 6-0.
The scoring began towards the end of the first when McClaren was able to get to the front of the net and somehow bounce it in to give Toronto the first of the game. However the Canadiens wonderful puck possession eventually paid off for them as Armstrong was able to dangle with puck, draw a penalty, and still setup Emelin for a beautiful one timer to knot it up at 1.
Scoring in the second was setup originally by a 5 minute major on Mike Brown for checking from behind, and it wouldn’t be until the very last seconds when off a face off draw the Habs kept it in the zone. PK Subban then fired one on net from the right point missing wide, only to have Max Pacioretty right there to deflect it home giving Montreal a 2-1 lead. Montreal should have scored on a two on one breakaway when David Desharnais forced the turnover at center ice, rushed in to the right of Ben Scrivens, a passed across to Brendan Gallagher who was absolutely stoned on a terrific kick save. It wouldn’t be until 10 minutes later in the period when Carey Price instead of covering up a weak dump-in on goal brushed it to the side keeping the play alive in the zone. Toronto would regain possession with Kadri finding Clarke MacArthur wide open to put it home and tie it up.
The period remained quiet with Montreal having tons of chances but not scoring, until about midway through when Gallagher got to the net and tipped home a shot by Gorges to break the tie. Five minutes later Desharnais continued fighting for the puck in the neutral zone and Pacioretty recovered it, skated on it and sniped it home from the other side of the faceoff circle, high on the glove side to give the Canadiens a two goal cushion. The final goal came with a little over two minutes left as Brian Gionta forced a turnover in the neutral zone and shot into an empty net.
With the win Montreal has a 3 point lead on 1st in the East, and an overall record of 13-4-3 including a remarkable 7-1-2 in their last 10. The Canadiens will face Pittsburgh this Saturday at home before traveling to Boston the following day