Good to get one point – even if it should have been two.
Canadiens played a superb road game. They outskated the home team and outshot the Thrashers in every period of regulation time (shots were 3-3 in OT). They came back twice from a goal down and would have won easily had anyone batted home a few pucks bouncing around Keri Lehtonen’s crease.
The Canadiens were almost error-free. Only six giveaways; and while the game plan called for defencemen to pinch deep, there were few odd-man rushes by the Thrashers.
Guy Carbonneau, in an interview on RDS, was pleased with his team’s effort, as well he should be. All four lines worked hard getting pucks deep and forcing Atlanta into laborious zone clearances. The defence was solid, as was Cristobal Huet until the shootout – which he readily admits is not the strongest part of his game.
The SO is a Carey Price specialty. Maybe next time Carbo will go to his bullpen.
Glass half full: Canadiens scored both their goals 5-on-5.
half-empty: They went 0-for-2 on the power play … although Alex
Kovalev’s game-tying goal was scored one second after Ilya Kovalchuk
got out of the box.
Eric Perrin had scored on the power play to give Atlanta its 2-1 lead, but Canadiens’ PK was oustanding in the third period, killing off three penalries – including one that carried over into OT.
The game was another valuable learning experience for the Kiddie Corps, most of whom played well.
• Maxim Lapierre took a bad penalty and was off when Perrin scored. But Max skated all night, had six shots on goal and was 10-3 on faceoffs, including a crucial PK draw win in the dying seconds of regulation.
• Guillaume Latendresse worked his ass off again and had six shots. That Québécois line, with Mathieu Dandenault on RW, is turning into something.
• Ryan O’Byrne played 14:40. His three blocked shots led the team, and the big galoot is a great skater: he turned on the afterburners to foil an odd-man rush.
• Sergei K. scored his second goal in as many games. He is meshing beautifully with the Captain and Christopher Higgins (who had an off night). Barring injury, Michael Ryder will never play an even-strength minute on that line again.
• Andrei K. had no shots and played in a fog until coming to life late in the third period. But Kovalev had another superb game, and that’s another line Carbo should leave intact.
• Francis Bouillon has been quietly great. Rock-solid in his own end and very adept at skating the puck out.
• Another line that’s meshing nicely: Kyle Chipchura, Mark Streit and Tom the Bomb.
• My man Josh Gorges had a jittery moment late in the game but was otherwise solid. Carbo had enough confidence to play him on the PK in the final regulation seconds of a 2-2 game.