florida march 10The Canadiens completed their grueling five game road trip with a 5-2 win over the Florida Panthers Sunday night.  The Habs finished the week on the road with a 4-1 record and remained atop the Eastern Conference standings.  Michael Ryder led the Canadiens with two power play goals and an assist.  The goals were first since he rejoined the club from Dallas.  David Desharnais, Brian Gionta and Francis Bouillon also scored.  P.K. Subban had three assists.  Tomas Kopecky and Shawn Matthias scored late goals for Florida.  Peter Budaj won his 4th straight in the Canadiens net, stopping 14 of 16 shots.  The three stars were Ryder, Subban and Gionta.


All About The Game –

Out of the Box – When the Canadiens score the first goal of the game, they are 13-3-3.  David Desharnais took care of that in short order.  He took a pass from Emelin and caught goaltender Jacob Markstrom back in the net with a high wrist shot.  By the way, eight points in the last eight games for Emelin.

100 At Last – Michael Ryder came back with 99 goals on his Montreal record.  It took him seven games and now he has 100, a tip-in on P.K. Subban’s power play shot at 8:42 and it was 2-0.

Lesson Well Learned – Early in the season Ryan White cost the Canadiens by taking foolish penalties.  Late in the first period Nolan Yonkman took exception to a White check and tried to provoke a fight.  White would have nothing to do with it and Yonkman wound up in the penalty box for four minutes.

Plekanec – Best player on the ice.  Late in the second period Plekanec stripped the puck from the Florida defence, fought off another check and slipped the puck out to the blueline for Subban.  Subban’s shot was deflected by Gionta, who then rifled his own rebound past Markstrom.

The Clincher – Gionta started what turned into a four on two.  Michael Ryder hit the trailer, Francis Bouillon for his first of the season.

Losing the Shutout – With the score 4-0 and 12 minutes left, Tomas Kopecky let a hard shot go that was blocked by Bouillon.  Still battling Jack Skille for the rebound, Bouillon picked up the puck and roofed it into his own goal.  Best shot Budaj faced all night.  Goodbye to the shutout bid. (Video Below).

A Glimmer of Hope – With seven minutes left Shawn Matthias went inside out on Alexei Emelin and scored and it was 4-2. It was the Panthers 16th and, as it turned out, last shot of the game.

Bad Timing – Opponents have had to kill off a league leading 114 Canadiens penalties this season.  Despite what Boston’s Claude Julien might say, it’s their speed that causes the lion’s share of the penalties.  The seventh Florida penalty of the game was the back breaker.  Kris Versteeg tried to slow up Emelin by grabbing his jersey with under five minutes left, snuffing out any chance of a comeback.

Finesse Over Power – On the power play he sent another shot toward the net with Ryder parked in front for the deflection for the fifth Canadiens goal.  On both power play goals Subban gave up the well telegraphed slap shot for a deflectable wrist shot.

Expanded Responsibility – The newest Canadiens Gabriel Dumont and Greg Pateryn were given almost thirteen minutes of ice time each.  Dumont was 4-0 in the faceoff circle.  Pateryn was steady playing alongside Bouillon.

Gallagher – No points for the kid but he had seven shots on goal and hit a goalpost and seemed to in the middle of every goalmouth incident.

The Overview

……The Canadiens are 9-2-2 on the road this season.  Since that 6-0 Toronto beatdown they have lost one of 15 games in regulation time (11-1-3).        ……With the victory, Montreal retains a one-point Eastern Conference  lead over  Pittsburgh Penguins.  They now lead Boston by three points in the Northeast Division, but Boston has those four games in hand.

……. The Canadiens have scored at least three goals for a seventh consecutive game. They last scored fewer than three on Feb. 25 in a 2-1 overtime loss against the Ottawa Senators.

……. Their next game will be Wednesday at the Bell Centre against Ottawa.

……And, we can all laugh about it now, but it wasn’t so funny at the time.  Here is Francis Bouillon’s own goal –