The Canadiens goal drought came to an end at 199 minutes and 1 second when Roman Hamrlik scored his first goal in thirty-two games at 12:56 of the first period and Mathieu Darche scored eleven seconds later.  It proved to be enough to support a 3-1 win over the Atlanta Thrashers at the Bell Centre.  Andrei Kostitsyn scored the other goal into an empty net.  Nik Antropov scored for Atlanta.  The Canadiens outshot the Thrashers 31-28.

Summing It Up –

….A very good bounceback game after three really bad efforts.  Granted the Thrashers are an eleventh place team, but they put in the workmanlike game  and, in Ondrej Pavelec, they have one of the better young goaltenders in the league.

….The ‘secret’ to winning is no secret at all.  If you put in the work you get results.  The Canadiens worked hard.  They received only one penalty (for too many men on the ice), a clear indication they weren’t behind the play the way they’re been through their most recent slump. 

….For the first time in weeks, the Canadiens got solid performances from both of their  top two lines. 

….Over the next couple of days, you’ll be reading and hearing about a recent  talk Scott Gomez had with Canadiens advisor Bob Gainey.  I assume it wasn’t a walk around the Old Port a la Alex Kovalev, but if we are to judge by this game, Gomez came away as inspired as Kovalev was three years ago.  He had a terrific two-way game and set up what proved to be the winning goal.

….Michael Cammalleri, who has been playing with a suspected ankle problem, had some jump to his game on this night.  He led the Canadiens with four shots on goal.  Similarly, Tomas Plekanec looked closer to regaining form in his third game back from his back injury.   Both Plekanec and Gomez appeared to make their linemates better, which is what you want from a team’s top two centremen.

….The Canadiens most consistent forward over the last five weeks has been Andrei Kostitsyn.  His 7 goals, 6 assists over the last 17 games have been important, but equally remarkable has been his commitment to the physical side of the game.  In this game he led both teams with five hits, but even more admirable was his willingness to take a hit to finish a play and he did that time-after-time.    

….Carey Price was named the first star and he put in the kind of game we’ve come to expect.   But it was no walk in the park, and he deserved a shutout.  The only goal against the Canadiens came when Eric Boulton took Hal Gill out with a stick in the eye creating a two-on-one with just under seven minutes remaining.

….The last couple of games, members of the Canadiens press contingent has been voting on the Beauchamp award, which goes to the Canadiens unsung hero.  The vote seems to be between forward Mathieu Darche, and defensemen Hal Gill and Roman Hamrlik.  My vote went to Hamrlik ahead of the other two and we were witness to his importance to this hockey club again in this game.  The opening goal of the game was a one-man show.  He took the initial shot, moved to the net and tried to jam the puck past Pavelec on one side of the net and then moved to the other corner to put the rebound in.  The Beauchamp award winner will be announced next  Tuesday.

…..On the down side, the Canadiens power play needs an awful lot of work.  The Canadiens had three more opportunities with nothing to show.  That’s two power play goals in the last thirty-three opportunities over the last ten games.  That’s 6.0 percent.

….The Canadiens keep the wolves away from their door for another day.  They remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with five games left, four of them on the road.  Next up, Carolina Wednesday night.

The Goalscorers – Canadiens – Hamrlik (5th) (Halpern-Cammalleri); Darche (10th) (Gomez); Kostitsyn (20th) (Mara).   Atlanta – Antropov (14th) (Boulton).

Shots on Goal – Atlanta –  7-11-7 = 28   Canadiens   14-10-7  = 31

The Three Stars – First – Carey Price (stopped 27 of 28 shots)   Second – Mathieu Darche (Game winning goal).   Third – Roman Hamrlik (goal, 3 shots, plus-1)

The Eastern Conference Standings after Tuesday’s games

                              GP    Pts.                   Next Game

1st  -Philadelphia   76    102**                 vs. Atlanta Thursday

2nd –Washington  77       99**  –              vs. Columbus Thursday

3rd – Boston          76     96**                   vs. Toronto Thursday

4th – Pittsburgh     77     98                      @ Tampa Thursday

5th – Tampa Bay   76     93                      vs. Pittsburgh Thursday

6th –  Canadiens  77      89                      @ Carolina Wednesday

7th  – NY Rangers  76     87                    @ Buffalo Wednesday

8th –  Buffalo           76     85                     vs. NY Rangers Wednesday

9th –  Carolina         76    82                     vs. Canadiens Wednesday

10th-Toronto           77    80                      @Boston Thursday

Game Number Team Player Number Goals Saved shots Missed Shots Fenwick+/- Blocked Shots Corsi+/-
21139 MTL 11 – C – GOMEZ, SCOTT 1 0 5 3 4 4 3 7 5 5
21139 MTL 13 – L – CAMMALLERI, MICHAEL 1 1 9 5 1 2 3 1 3 1
21139 MTL 14 – C – PLEKANEC, TOMAS 1 1 9 7 0 2 0 0 3 -3
21139 MTL 15 – C – HALPERN, JEFF 1 1 7 6 1 3 -1 0 3 -4
21139 MTL 20 – D – WISNIEWSKI, JAMES 1 0 8 1 5 4 9 7 4 12
21139 MTL 21 – R – GIONTA, BRIAN 1 0 6 3 3 4 3 6 5 4
21139 MTL 22 – D – MARA, PAUL 1 0 2 10 2 5 -10 0 4 -14
21139 MTL 31 – G – PRICE, CAREY 2 1 19 20 7 14 -7 10 11 -8
21139 MTL 32 – L – MOEN, TRAVIS 0 0 1 7 3 5 -8 1 2 -9
21139 MTL 44 – D – HAMRLIK, ROMAN 1 0 9 1 5 5 9 7 4 12
21139 MTL 46 – L – KOSTITSYN, ANDREI 0 0 1 7 1 6 -11 1 2 -12
21139 MTL 52 – L – DARCHE, MATHIEU 1 0 4 3 2 3 1 6 5 2
21139 MTL 53 – C – WHITE, RYAN 0 0 4 4 0 2 -2 2 1 -1
21139 MTL 55 – D – SOPEL, BRENT 1 1 2 10 2 9 -15 1 4 -18
21139 MTL 57 – L – POULIOT, BENOIT 0 0 3 3 2 3 -1 2 1 0
21139 MTL 58 – C – DESHARNAIS, DAVID 0 0 4 2 1 2 1 3 1 3
21139 MTL 75 – D – GILL, HAL 0 1 8 9 0 3 -5 3 3 -5
21139 MTL 76 – D – SUBBAN, P.K. 0 0 9 9 0 2 -2 2 3 -3
21139 MTL 81 – C – ELLER, LARS 0 0 2 8 3 6 -9 1 2 -10