The first heavy snowfall of December blanketed Montreal and the Canadiens ran their December record to 3-1 with another suffocating defensive performance.
Andrei Markov gets injured, and the team keeps on winning: 7-3-1 since the Canadiens best defenceman went down with a season-ending knee knack (14-5-2 without him this season; 4-3-0 with him).
P.K. Subban goes to the pressbox, and the team keeps on winning – 3-0 without him.
Scott Gomez leaves the game with a lower-body something-or-other, and the reconfigured lines produce three goals to bust open a tight-checking 1-1 game.
The Canadiens are hot.
And do you suppose Mike Babcock is worriedly studying video of Dustin Boyd?
Josh Gorges lauded the forwards, who, he said, exert back-pressure to help the D on zone clearances.
Carey Price praised everyone, saying – with more modesty than candor – that’s he’s just sucking up air out there.
Jacques Martin had kind words for both teams because until Jeff Halpern’s goal blew it open, the Canadiens and Senators played JM hockey: aggressive forechecking, little space to maneuver, not many scoring chances.
With the luxury of the lead Halpern gave them, the Canadiens were able to keep on playing the kind of hockey Martin has tried to stress since he yelled at Sergei Kostitsyn for being out of position two training camps ago.
If the Canadiens use their team speed and if the forwards get back in puck support, the opposing team will not get sustained pressure or prime scoring chances. And when you have a goaltender like Price …
• The Canadiens have as many wins as Washington, with a game in hand.
• Their goal differential, plus-21, is better than any team in the Western Conference.
• The Canadiens have four nine-goal scorers.
• Every skater except Tom Pyatt had at least one shot on goal against Ottawa – and Pyatt hit the post.
• Tomas Plekanec won 20 faceoffs and lost only 6. Jason Spezza went 8-15.
• Roman Hamrlik played 25:01, Jaro Spacek 22:40.
• Yannick Weber had two SoG, three were blocked and five missed the net … but not by much.
• The D blocked 13 shots.
And let’s hope the snow isn’t too deep to confound the bloodhounds who are are out looking for any trace of Daniel F. or Kovy.