Not with a bang but with an OT winner by Washington defenceman Mike Green.
5-4 Capitals in a ding-dong game in which Canadiens blew a 2-0 lead, then fought back from 3-2 and 4-3 deficits to earn a point at the halfway pole.
When it was over, Carey Price sat at his cubicle waering a baseball hat, his white goalie pads and the doleful expression of a man-child who’s had better days in his short career.
"I had to play better than that," Price candidly admitted. "The guys played hard in front of me. They earned a point."
Price was asked if rust was a factor. He hadn’t played since the Dec. 23 Dallas Debacle.
"A little bit," Price said. "But that’s not an excuse. There’s no excuse for not being ready and not playing well."
There were scattered boos after Capitals’ goals, and Price heard them.
"It’s deserved," he said. "I wouldn’t be happy if I was watching that.
"I got my chance and I blew it," Price added. "That’s what’s disappointing. Definitely we had a good game as a team. We should have won it."
"I don’t think he had a good performance," Guy Carbonneau said of his goaltender, "but he’s not the only one."
The coach said gaining a point was the only positive he could derive from a game in which his team stopped working after the first period, as had been the case against Tampa Bay.
"We talekd about it before the game, we talked about it after the first period," Carbo said. He lamented too many plays that were "lazy" and listed a litany of sins: "penalties in the offensive zone, not covering the guy, losing faceoffs."
Questioned about his decision to play the Kostitsyn brothers in OT, Carbonneau pointed out that five seconds before Green’s winner, Andrei K had nearly converted a pass from his brother at the other end.
"I would have been a genius," Carbonneau noted, with chagrin.
• • •
Captain Saku Koivu, assessing the last 41 games, said there had been "a lot of good things" during the first half of the season.
"We’ve been pretty consistent," Kovu said. "We have a lot of young players, and their adjustmen has gone fairly well.
"But the first half is behind us and we have the same number of games in front of us. The real battle starts now, and every point counts."