A power play goal by Brian Gionta with forty-seven seconds remaining in regulation time gave the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning and put an end to a three game losing streak. It was Gionta’s second goal of the game and 14th of the season and came with Benoit Pouliot in the penalty box for holding P.K. Subban. The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead on second period goals by Alex Galchenyuk and Gionta but the Richard Panik and Vincent Lecavalier replied. Lecavalier’s goal coming in the 6th minute of the final period. With the win, the Canadiens bounce back into second place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the idle Boston Bruins who now hold two games in hand. Boston will host Pittsburgh Friday night. The game’s three stars were Gionta, Carey Price and Galchenyuk.
Adding It Up –It Wasn’t Pretty – ….But they’ll take it. In the first period the Canadiens appeared to be on the same path they traveled against Toronto, Philadelpha and Pittsburgh with one exception. Carey Price was able to get his “A” game back. He was not only good but he was lucky, something that had been noticeably absent recently. Between ten first period saves off eight scoring chances, Price also had help from his posts on Teddy Purcell and Steven Stamkos shots and the crossbar on Vincent Lecavalier.
Save of the Month – With it still 0-0 Martin St. Louis sprung himself loose and cut across the goal mouth. With patience he waited for Price to commit and then past the goalcrease he shot high. At the same time Price threw his right pad up in the air and stopped the shot. Still 0-0.
The Shakeup – Michel Therrien finally saw fit to break up the Desharnais line. Pacioretty joined Plekanec and Gionta and Gallagher went back to his roots with Galchenyuk and Eller, leaving Desharnais with Ryder and Bourque.
The Payoff – 2 ½ minutes after Price made his save on St. Louis, the Eller line put the Canadiens on the board. Gallagher shot the puck into a crowd and Galchenyuk simply battled his way through the defense to make it 1-0.
Chucky’s Surge -If you’re counting, and I’m sure you are…Galchenyuk has six goals and 3 assists in his last nine games and has inserted himself right in the middle of the rookie scoring race. Both Galchenyuk and Gallagher, who drew an assist on the goal, have 25 points, three behind the leader Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau.
More Payoff – The Pacioretty move also paid off in a slick three way play to make it 2-0. Pacioretty stepped off the bench to save the puck at the line…to Plekanec to Gionta. Very nice. 2-0.
Not Out of the Woods – The Lightning, who have the fire power to do this kind of thing, came back with two straight goals to tie the game. P.K. Subban was sitting in the penalty box when Richard Panic made it 2-1 late in the second period and the Canadiens defence was caught standing around as the Lightning were able to make six passes from within twenty feet of the Price before Vincent Lecavalier scored to tie the game.
Best for Last – The Lightning conspired to play four of the final five minutes of the game shorthanded. The power play had been 0-for-5 and not very good when Benoit Pouliot was called for holding Subban in the offensive zone at 17:39. The first power play unit did little but with the Plekanec line out the Canadiens won the game. Ryder to Weber who’s shot hit the back boards and Gionta, was there to stuff it in. Game winner at 19:13!!
Small Steps – The Canadiens weren’t great against a team that will miss the playoffs but they won. The lineup shuffling had it’s effect, especially on Pacioretty who’s game seemed to be withering. The defence struggled at times but at least they got some help from the forwards, a commodity that was noticeably absent recently.
Help On The Way – Michel Therrien announced during his news conference that Raphael Diaz has been training very well and probably will play Saturday against Washington. That concussion has kept him out since February 25th, a total of 25 games.
Two from the Room – Carey Price on goalposts “I have to take them out to dinner. They had a good game. Price on the recent slump – “It’s easy to pick on a goaltender, but there are five other guys out there. I know one thing: My kids aren’t going to be goalies. They’ll play baseball maybe.”