The Steelers came back.
The Rangers didn’t.
I’m going home to have a couple of celebratory Jacks to let a great sports day sink in.
The Canadiens are a solid seventh, two points clear of Atlanta, with a game in hand on the Thrashers (who have become the ones worried about Carolina).
The Canadiens are two points back of the Rangers, with a game in hand.
The upcoming week is going to be tough, with two sets of back-to-backs.
But through 40 minutes tonight, the Canadiens looked like a solid playoff team.
What did they look like for the last 20?
Well, the Rangers, who had 12 shots through the first two periods, peppered Carey Price with 21 … and they were buzzing when the siren sounded.
The barrage was to be expected of a John Tortorella team. He doesn’t coach quitters, and his players work hard to the whistle.
New York is a good team with a great goaltender. If Henrik Lundqvist had not been sharp under a 41-shot barrage, this would have been a 5-1 hockey game after two periods.
Which would have meant garbage time, and a 60-minute, fight-filled third period.
So let’s be thankful for some exciting hockey and a much-needed (is there any other kind?) W.
• Six of the Canadiens’ last seven games have been decided by one goal. They have won five of them and are 12-4-3 in one-goal games this season.
• James Wisniewki played a Markovian 25 minutes, including 5:08 on the power play and 3:10 on the PK.
• No Canadien was plus on the game. Jaro Spacek, Yannick Weber, Lars Eller, Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec were minus-1.
• Scott Gomez (7-3) and Jeff Halpern (9-4) were great on faceoffs.
• I don’t know that Brother Andrei deserved Second Star beatification, but he played a decent game with his plugger linemates and scored for the first time since two days before Christmas.
• Cammalleri and Brian Gionta each had six SoG. MathieuDarche and P.K. Subban had five.
• Wiz had two assists, was great on the PP and was named First Star. But he didn’t record a shot on goal (two were blocked, one missed the net).
• Lars Eller played 12:27 and had a big shot block. The kid would have had more ice time, but he’s not on the PP or the PK and it was a special teams game.
• Tomas Plekanec played almost 24 minutes, including five on the power play and 4:16 on the PK. That’s a lot: almost 10 minutes more than Gomez, nine more than Halpern, 14 more than David Desharnais.
• DD had a tough night on draws (1-4), but I thought he played smart and resourceful against some physical Rangers D play. He also logged 1:38 on the PK.
• P.K. Subban gets better in every game. He took a bad penalty early but was brilliant thereafter. The offensive prowess we knoqw about, but he’s becoming a real solid Dman paired with Hal Gill.
• Carey Price could have brought his iPod for most of the first two periods. It’s a tribute to his concentration – and, of course, his ability – that Price made 20 saves in the third period.
• • •
Quote of the Night fron Henrik Lunqvist, on why he jumped and pummeled Max Pacioretty:
“The energy on the ice and in the building makes you want to jump guys sometimes.”