Your Montreal Canadiens helped their coach win the war of the Jacques.
Martin’s much-maligned system beat the much-admired style of Lemaire.
They looked pretty good for a disgruntled team, eh?
I guess the mutiny will have to wait.
The Canadiens did what game hero Mathieu Darche, echoing the philosophy of his coach, always says they must do to win.
Keep it simple.
The JM System had one of its best nights of the season, and it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.
The Canadiens held the home team to 21 shots – six of which came in the final five minutes of the game. For most of the evening, the Canadiens were hard on the puck, forwards getting back to help their banged-up defencemen gain possession and clear the zone.
At the other end, they got pucks behind New Jersey’s horrible D and peppered Martin Brodeur with 29 shots. A lesser goaltender would have given up six goals easy.
My favourite game stat:
Every Canadien except Ryan White played double-digit minutes. And White got right into Adam Mair’s face after the Devil tried to get physical.
Another critical number:
One. The Canadiens took one minor penalty … plus the Hal Gill hook on a breakaway.
Freed of the requirement to kill penalties for five or six minutes, Scott Gomez and Tomas Plekanec played like Top Six centres.
Pleks had four shots on goal, won 11 of 15 faceoffs and put some wind in the sails of linemate Mike Cammalleri, who had seven SoG.
Gomez had a tough night in the circle, 4-10, but skated hard all night. He and Brian Gionta – who have struggled piteously since Max Pacioretty was injured – benefited immensely from the forechecking, puck-digging and scoring of Darche.
Credit the captain for both goals. Gionta – who usually does a lot more shooting than passing – put the puck on Darche’s stick twice.
I also liked:
• The sheer genius of P.K. Subban through 24 minutes: four SoG, three hits, innumerable plays that can be performed by very few Dmen – and none of the poor stiffs Lemaire is stuck with in New Jersey
• The bounce-back effort of Lars Eller, who played seven minutes more than he did in Carolina and was brilliant in all three zones. Man, the kid made the Devils look slow.
• Benoit Pouliot had three hits and keyed a good night for linemates David Desharnais and Travis Moen
• Tom Pyatt did what he does best: make smart plays and skate miles against a team that couldn’t keep with him.
Carolina won. Buffalo lost in OT.
They play tomorrow.
Canadiens – and their agonized fans – get a day off.