Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. Here’s how things might have looked in Saturday night’s game between the Canadiens and Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre.
Andrei Markov and Alexander Ovechkin are good friends off the ice but it’s a different matter when they face each other in a game.
Markov played a key role in keeping Ovechkin off the scoresheet Saturday night as the Canadiens defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 at the Bell Centre. The Capitals kept Montreal goaltender Carey Price busy as they outshot the Canadiens 36-28 but Ovechkin accounted for only two of those shots.
“Andrei and Ovi know each other pretty well and Andrei was able to push him to the outside where he isn’t as effective,” said Price. “I saw a lot of pucks but most of them were long shots and I saw the puck.”
One exception was the lone Washington goal by defenceman Karl Alzner, who gave the Capitals a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 4:21 of the first period. Price was screened when Alzner scored with a slapshot from the point.
Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring at 2:16 when he found the five hole against Braden Holtby.
The Canadiens went ahead for good at 10:25 of the first period when Travis Moen redirected Louis Leblanc’s shot from the side boards.
The Capitals had a chance to tie the game when Josh Gorges was sent off with a rare major penalty for hooking at 4:28 of the third period. The Capitals had three shots on goal during the five-minute advantage but Price said he wasn’t tested.
“We gave up the power-play goal but our PK came up big when we had to kill the major,” said Price. “(Gorges) is one of our best defencemen on the PK but Markov and P.K,. (Subban) came up big. I think they were on for four of the five minutes.”
Markov did have enough energy in reserve to put the game out of reach when he scored the game’s final goal at 12:09 of the third period.
It was the third consecutive win for the fantasy Habs, who are 3-2 on the season.
The Canadiens are on the road Tuesday to face the Minnesota Wild but return to the Bell Centre for games Thursday against Philadelphia and Saturday against Saku Koivu and the Anaheim Ducks.
Sign of the Apocalypse? The Season That Isn’t has caught the eye of Sports Illustrated. In the Oct. 22 edition, the magazine has this item: “Sign of the Apocalypse: During the NHL lockout the Montreal Gazette is playing out the Canadiens’ season on EA Sports’s NHL 13, game by game, and publishing news stories off the results of the simulated games.”