Not the best game of Jaroslav Halak’s career.
Not that he got much support. Frustrated for 40 minutes by the master game-planner, St. Louis coach Andy Murray, Canadiens came alive with a 13-4 shot barrage and the only goal of the third period.
But Mannny Lagace stopped Saku Koivu. Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Kovalev in a shootout and Brad Boyes, who had scored St. Louis’s third goal, beat Halak to give the team with 69 points a well-earned win over the team with 89 points.
"It’s pretty disappointing," said Christopher Higgins, who had a goal and an assist. "These are games where you’re supposed to get the two points.
"You look at the standings, those guys are struggling. But they’re not going to just give us the game. They have a little more pride than that."
Playing for pride, St. Louis outhit Canadiens 25-21 and had 32 blocked shots to 14 for the home team. Murray devised a scheme that had his team continually frustrating the Canadiens’ passing game through the first 40 minutes.
Higgins thought Canadiens were trying to be too fancy. Drop passes, criss-crossing at the blueline: fan-pleasing hockey … when it works.
Asked what the team could take away from the game, Saku Koivu said "we can take the point."
"We didn’t play for 60 minutes," the captain added. "It wasn’t a consistent three periods tonight. And they came out hard."
"They showed up tonight and wanted to win," Higggins said. "They’ve got guys who want to prove themselves."
It’s a cliché, but on any given night …
"You don’t know which team you’re going to play against," Higgins said. "Guys who throw their sticks out there and wait for the end of the season or guys who play like they did tonight."