Take this historic shutout to the bank: Carey Price clears the ice of a purse thrown from the stands.
Dave Sandford, NHLI via Getty Images
The Canadiens ended their remarkable week in a truly arresting fashion. But in a good way.
With Carey Price playing superb goal, never more brilliant than during a third-period 5-on-3 disadvantage for a span of 1:53, the Habs continued their 2007-08 mastery of the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, defeating their Bell Centre visitors 1-0 on a highlight-reel second-period goal by Andrei Kostitsyn.
Price, now 11-8-3 in his rookie season, made 34 saves in a stellar performance to record his first National Hockey League shutout. He had earned his second straight start following a terrific 35-save overtime-winning performance Wednesday in Florida against the Panthers.
It was Montreal’s third victory in three games vs. the Flyers this season, with their fourth and final meeting coming Sunday night in Philadelphia. And it was the Flyers’ sixth consecutive loss, equalling their longest skid of the season.
The Canadiens improved their season record to 31-19-9 while Philadelphia fell to 30-23-5.
Props to the Canadiens defence, which played an excellent game, and backchecking forward Alex Kovalev, who saved an almost certain goal by pulling the puck away from the Montreal goal-line during a scramble late in the game.
Canadiens forward Andrei Kostitsyn broke the scoring ice at 3:52 of the second period on the power play with a goal you’re likely to see a dozen times by weekend’s end.
Linemate Kovalev dipsy-doodled deep into the Flyers zone then fed Kostitsyn, whose first try was blocked by Philadelphia goalie Antero Niittymaki.
But as Kostitsyn sailed though the air and bellyflopped toward the corner, he somehow swatted at the puck on the backhand, sweeping it back at the net off the shaft of his stick, and it trickled beneath the goalie, crossing the goal line in slow motion for his 18th of the season.
Price was the story the rest of the way, sensational throughout but off-the-charts magnificent in the third period, especially during the 5-on-3.
In fact, it was briefly a 5-on-2 with defencemen Andrei Markov and Mike Komisarek in the penalty box, fellow rearguard Roman Hamrlik losing his stick in a scramble. Price himself lost his stick in the same sequence.
The Flyers outshot their hosts 15-3 in the third period and 34-20 overall.
Canadiens head coach Guy Carbonneau made healthy scratches of forwards Michael Ryder and Steve Bégin as well as defenceman Patrice Brisebois.
Both teams chartered out of Montreal immediately after the game for Philadelphia, where they will close out their four-game season series Sunday night at the Wachovia Centre.