Game 66: Canadiens win to grab East lead

Updated at 10:18 p.m. with post-game audio

Canadiens’ Andrei Kostitsyn scores the game-winning goal on Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, the puck on his wraparound effort tucked just inside the post at left.
Allen McInnis, Gazette

Lineups | Preview | Game Summary | Event Summary | Boxscore | Game Story | Boone | Post-Game Audio: Price 1 | Price 2 | Koivu | Higgins | A. Kostitsyn | Carbonneau

This might be the way it’s going to be the last month of the NHL’s Cardiac Calendar – the Canadiens flirting with first place, playing for top spot one night, battling to stay abreast of the leaders the next.

And who would have believed that, on March 1, the Canadiens would be atop the Eastern Conference?

Andrei Kostitsyn scored his 20th goal of the year on a huge-effort wraparound at 14:17 of the third period to lift the Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

The win puts Montreal atop the East with 81 points, one more than both the Devils and the Ottawa Senators, winners this afternoon over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s the first time the Canadiens have been in first place after the all-star break since March 1993 – coincidentally, or not, the last time the club won the Stanley Cup, the captain’s C worn that year by current head coach Guy Carbonneau.

The Habs rode a two-game winning streak into the game, having beaten Atlanta last Tuesday at home and the Sabres last night in Buffalo. Both of those victories were backstopped by goalie Carey Price, the team’s undisputed No. 1 in the wake of last Tuesday’s trade of Cristobal Huet to Washington.

And Price was very sharp tonight, making 31 saves. The Canadiens managed 25 on their nemesis, Martin Brodeur, at the other end of the ice.

Mark Streit got the Canadiens on the board with his second goal in as many nights, and his fourth point. Streit notched his 12th of the season on the power play at 6:11 of the second period when he swatted the puck out of the air on a centring pass by Alex Kovalev, deflected first by Saku Koivu.

Price is probably still looking for the one that beat him at 13:37 to tie it up. Devils’ Brian Gionta dug the puck out from where it lay between Price’s trapper and stick, the goalie looking for it the other way, then shovelled it into a yawning net to score his 18th.

Brodeur, a Montreal native, came into tonight’s game with a 9-1-0 record and a 1.99 goals-against average in his last 10 starts against his hometown team. He had won nine in a row vs. the Canadiens before the Jan. 24 loss.

Brodeur was 34-13-0 with five ties, a 1.75 GAA and eight shutouts in 52 starts against Montreal before tonight’s contest.

New Jersey had won nine straight against the Canadiens before Montreal scored three third-period goals in a 4-3 victory at New Jersey on Jan. 24. The Devils had won four in a row at the Bell Centre since a 3-2 loss on March 20, 2004.

The Canadiens now head west for a four-game swing, beginning Monday in San Jose against former Hab Craig Rivet and the Sharks.


  1. Bill H says:

    Kovy just won the Molson Cup standings for Feb. He has the same number of points as the next 3 players combined. He won it in every month except October.

  2. habsgod says:

    hey sanj91 are you the same sanj91 on the site htr? (hockey trade rumors)

  3. saku11 says:

    HAHAHAHA!!! I love that clip!! Peddie is definitely a sith lord.

  4. ViveKovalev says:

    I know, Bill H! I was right pumped to see Kovy finally calim all the titles for the lead on the habs. It’s been a long time coming and he deserves it this year.

  5. the real vinnydj says:

    SK needs to start shooting more, only Mike ribeiro is ahead of him for shooting %. This kid is a snipe show in the making.

    YOU GUYS WILL LOVE THIS ONE, I live amongst Laffs nation so I’m surrounded by these losers over here, for some strange reason that I will never understand a couple of my friends are fans of the Laffs and like to chirp me about being a Hab fan (Not too much chirping going on these days)but my buddy approaches me last week and this is the same guy who goes out of his way to text message me when the leafs score against the Habs and he says “Hey man the Habs are pretty good eh?” I just looked at him and said “SHAAAT UP”

    They are like lost puppies, although they sure know how to find their way to 9th in the Eastern conference.

  6. sanj91 says:

    habs win 3-0….price is due for a hype-starting game….he has been better than solid the last few games but i think or hope atleast that he will push to a new level tonite…similar to the way he played against philly…komi will crush parise at least once…gorges and bouillon will shut down any one who comes their way….no points for the kovy line…it will be the koivu and the grabs line’s show….remember u heard it here first…oh and the 3rd goal will be an empty net!!

  7. Bill H says:

    Penalties are going to be key. Our PP is ranked first at 25% while NJD are tied for 20th at 16%. In penalty killing category, we are ranked 24th at 80% while NJD are 11th at 83%.

    Another notable stat:
    NJD have just lost 2 in a row. Statistically, after a loss, they are 14-6-1. Meanwhile, Canadiens are coming off of a great game against the Sabres. After a win, we are 14-14-6.

    And that’s not even looking at the Brodeur jinks.

  8. LizardKing1967 says:

    He became an “unknown soldier” himself. And you thought “I believe” was only for the Habs? 🙂



  9. HABZ24 says:

    hossa getting hurt is, aaaw toooo bad, lol.wings are hurt and falling.senns are a ship of fools as of late.our habs are on fire scoring min 4 goals a game lately,and getting very valuable wins at the right time of year.they say dont kick em when there down, but the sens are down, put the boots to them 2 pts at a time while we can.the youngsters are playing there hearts out and comming up big.the kozs are great.price is reacting to his new throne like the king he will be.n.j will be a tuff game, hope martys tired from last nite, but losing 4 zip to caps theyll be ready.the habs are too. go habz go !!!!!

  10. Rugger says:

    Thanks, he’s the guy I was thinking of.

  11. Hoegarden says:

    You’re probably thinking of Tim Kerr.

  12. Rugger says:

    I don’t know if he could skate, but Phil Espesito sure made a career out of standing in front of the net, along with a big guy from Philly in the ’80’s whose name escapes me right now.

  13. Hoegarden says:

    Dino was indeed a deadly sniper.
    I take it Morrison is your cup of tea ??

  14. showey47 says:

    I know, i was laughing at tsn for making such a ridiculous comment. Gaineys’ loyalty for the habs is the same as sundins’ for the laffs. After all the work gainey has done(andre savards work also) why the heck would he leave what is gonna be a regular playoff/contender type team. Which george gillett has given bob the vote of confidence to make all the decisions without having to consult ownership. To go to toronto and become the next mlse puppet, check out the press conference with fletcher and peddie. Watch from about the 4 min 30 second mark when you can see peddie’s lips moving telling fletcher what to say, its hilarious

  15. Gooner says:

    I believe that this will be a real test for our young team tonight but I have lots of faith in these boys. They will have to come out hard tonight and not let up for a second. The Devils will be mad as hell about being shut out and I am sure that they will want revenge for our last meeting with them.
    As long as our defensive game stays as good as it has been the last few games we should be in for a great win. Oh yeah and are offense has been not too shabby either. Go Habs Go !!!!

  16. tony d says:

    Voltaire??? he played on the Bobby Rousseau line right???

  17. Hoegarden says:

    I’ll take a 1 zip win if it comes to it.

  18. Rugger says:

    To me the phrase that best illustrates the change in Kovy is this one that I hear all the time this year but had never heard before:

    “…and Kovalev clears it…”

  19. tony d says:

    good point man…I used to yell at Kovy to get over to his good side…but I think other teams started to swarm him on that side….looks like he solved it by flipping over…so far so good…. I’m sure when that fails , he’ll think of another way to set up…good to have him as QB on the PP

  20. Bill H says:

    Great to see Pleks pot a hattrick last night. He was in a bit of a slump. Let’s hope he keeps right on going tonight.

    Kovy has been amazing. Look at the team leaders summary at the top of this thread. He leads in goals, assists, points, overtime goals, and +/-. I bet he leads in pp goals as well.

    I am concerned that NJD will come out strong tonight, especially Brodeur. I’d like to see single goals from Ryder, Higgins, K2, Koivu and Latendresse. That should be enough. Oh wait, what about Grabs. I hope I’m not being greedy wishing for 6 goals.

  21. LizardKing1967 says:

    You are right about Lats. Maybe he needs just a bit more polishing, but not only was there Luc Robitaille, do you not remember another big time goal scorer who was not fast, but parked himself in front of the net (which I hope Lats is learning slowly): Dino Ciccarelli. Pretty good “slow-poke” if you ask me.



  22. tony d says:

    another thing that pisses me off about TSN…
    their play of the night highlight was Blake scoring the tying goal against Tampa Bay….OMG…give me a break!!!
    the only redeeming thing was that it was sponsored by Cialis (that might explain the recent surge(sorry) in the Leafs play

  23. Shobud says:

    I am impressed with gorges more and more each game.. I think he is going to become a very good D man.. The whole team seems to get better each day..Hope it keeps up

  24. Hoegarden says:

    The bright lights at TSN need to say “something” to entertain Laffs fans. With no playoffs and nothing more to say about Sundin, here comes Bob as the “talk of the town”. Pathetic.

    One thing I wish to mention about our Habs success this year; with all the praise for Kovy’s line, so rightly deserved, the one player who keeps improving game after game has to be Josh Gorges. His quiet and confident play is remarkable after a poor start.

    I will also add the slower progress of Lapierre (he looked good on the wing) playing with Grabs and Lats. His speed is a big factor on the forecheck and yes, Guy “La Terror” Latendresse deserves a nod of approval. These two young men are 20 and I wish the French Press would lay off them. Like many on this blog, I pleaded to have him sent to Hamilton early on and I do feel he still needs some polishing but as someone said last night, Luc Robitaille was as slow as Lats and yet he potted over 600 goals in his career. Slowly but surely he’ll become a Yvon Lambert type in my opinion.

    12 more cm of snow this morning to keep the old fart in shape.

  25. WindsorHab-10 says:

    I hope the Habs can follow last night’s good effort with another one tonight on home ice. The team should be motivated because we’re playing a team whose goalie has owned us and also we have the conference lead on the line. No excuses at all, just go out and execute.

  26. Bill H says:

    Great observation showey. I like this kind of insightful comment. If you are right, it speaks volumes about the success of the pp this year. This sort of adaptation would probably come from the coaching staff. I can’t remember if it is Muller of Jarvis that has responsibility for PP.

  27. Habs93 says:

    Life is grand when you’re a Habs fan..
    Let’s let the season play out first. Job ain’t done yet..Good so far but not done….

  28. sag says:

    A lot of excellent points today….and a lot of reflections on a fun year and what got us here! We still have our youth, coach, and captain despite a lot of fans calling for heads. The many reasons for this newfound success have one common thread….Bob’s patience. If he were as reactionary as all of us (or even worse, Leaf management) we’d be nowhere right now.

    One more thought…the deflection off a Buffalo skate last night that magically hit price would have found its way in on Huet to swing the momentum….why? Murphy doesn’t like some goalies….you gotta be lucky to be good and good to be lucky.

  29. jimbo says:

    Huet is U F A at seasons end.

  30. martin says:

    good for Huet from what I’ve seen he is a class guy.As long as he doesn’t beat us

  31. Dana says:

    I don’t know about Gainey’s contract but why would he leave the Habs for the Leafs?? Just as all the work he’s been doing is paying off and we’re going onto our 100th anniversary?

    “Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies.”
    – Voltaire on his deathbed in response to a priest asking that he renounce Satan.

  32. habsguy says:

    I’m kinda thinking maybe Carbo for coach of the year….
    I’m sure glad we didn’t dump him like some posters thought we should have….

  33. dicktracy says:

    love looking at those east standings…..Canadiens on the top….leafs on the bottom….just like the good old days…just as it should be

  34. showey47 says:

    I was wondering why kovy has started playing the left side on the powerplay instead of his office on the right side. Then it donned on me, other teams were starting to pressure kovy on the powerplay and with both pleky and ak46 being left handed shots a cross ice pass from right to left makes for a lousy one timer. But for kovy to switch to the left side he can make the cross ice pass when pressured onto either pleky or ak 46 while they are both left handed shots playing the right side. Its alot better for a one-timer and for shooting angle.

  35. Habs93 says:

    Life is grand when you’re a Habs fan..
    Typical Leafs.. Now that we’re not the center of attention and our playoff hopes took another shot, let’s grab the gheadlines with our search for a permanent GM and while we’re at it detract other teams’ drive to the playoffs. So let’s add Bob Gainey to our list odf candidates unless, of course, Brian Burke wants the job then it’s his.
    A real unclassy organization/ownership that gets itself into continuous turmoil and then expects the rest of the world to save its ass. They’d probably call in the army but ubfortunately a little busy in Afghanistan right now…

  36. the real vinnydj says:

    I didn’t hear about him staying after practice, last I heard he had taken Wed and Thurs off for therapy days. I guess you’re right, it don’t matter if he’s putting up pts like that.

    It’s also nice to see Ryder playing with some confidence, no better way to get a goal scorer going then by putting him in the line up. It’s hard to get your touch back when you’re sitting in the press box.

    All around I must say I’m pleased with the way Carbo has these guys playing, and after all the bashing and rumours about the team having problems in the room last year, he has to be sleeping really well at night.

    I don’t ever want to hear people refer to Kovalev as a Cancer again!!!

  37. Shiloh says:

    We could easily win tonight – and even win most of the games on our west coast swing. That would be awesome. I think the main thing, however, is the effort. If we work hard and win half of the games in the next 8 days then I will be satisfied. As an earlier poster indicated, the big thing is not to fall into an extended losing streak.

  38. smiler2729 says:

    WOW! That idiot mouthpiece Darren Dreger is suggesting on TSN that Bob Gainey may be in the running to take over the Maple Leafs. Now he has all Laff Nation frothing at the mouth like it’s a done deal.
    Is Gainey not signed beyond this summer???

  39. POPS says:

    This team is coming together at the right time and all of the pieces are falling into place.Tonight we take over top spot in the East!Who would have predicted that?So much for all of the NHL experts!

  40. wd40 says:

    the talk about Kovalev being hurt/tired has been circulating off and on for a few weeks now. personally, i can’t say that i noticed it last night. also, consider what Pierre and Yvon were praising Kovalev last night during the game: yesterday morning’s practice after all the other players had left the ice, kovy stayed behind and did drill after drill. seems to me if you’re hurt, or even tired, you don’t stick around. i guess you can decide if that is relevant or not.

    one thing’s for sure, if a 4-point night is not a healthy Kovalev, i can’t wait until he’s healthy and/or rested 🙂

  41. doug says:

    Here’s a few things I put together before heading out for some hockey this a.m.:

    1. Habs losing streaks this year
    a. 3 games in regulation – once
    b. 3 games (including one OT/SO loss) – twice
    c. 2 games in regulation – twice
    d. 2 games (including one OT/SO loss) – twice

    That’s it. Compare that to two other top teams:

    Ottawa: One 7 game losing streak with 3 OT/SO losses; three 3-game losing streaks (oen of which had an OT/SO loss)
    Detroit: One 3 game loss; One 3 game loss with an OT/SO loss; one six game losing streak (one OT/SO); current four game losing streak (one OT/SO)

    We have bent but we’ve not broken all year. Kudos to Carbo.

  42. wd40 says:

    “…and it won’t take much to get back into it from the first period over there.”

    until we score.

  43. the real vinnydj says:

    As I started watching the game lastnight I really noticed something different about Kovalev. It almost looked like he was tired or hurt. Still had 4 helpers but did anyone else notice this? Or am I just losing it?

  44. frank81 says:

    Sounds like the Devils will come out with guns blazing…

    “You gotta forget about it. I think that’s the beauty of these games, you want to jump back up,” said Martin Brodeur, who stopped 25 shots and held the Devils in the game for two periods. “We’re going to go into a great atmosphere in Montreal and it won’t take much to get back into it from the first period over there.”

  45. moser17 says:

    That’s what Huet does. He’s good, capable of being great. But he has the odd soft game. When that happens, the coach usually plays the other goalie, which gets Huet out of a starter routine, which in turn perpetuates the stigma against Huet that he goes soft too often to be great. Similar things will happen in Washington, probably (tho’ I hope not, for his sake), with Kolzig playing two or three, then Huet, then Kolzig, maybe Johnson in the mix here and there (only very intermittently, I predict). Barring injury, I think Huet could handle a starter load (he’s certainly a clear #1), and I think he should be played after a soft game, even two, to allow him to develop how great he really is. Kolzig is the perfect example of a guy who is a great goalie, and has multiple soft games. BUt since he was the #1 guy for so long in Washington, without a really competent backup, he played multiple games even through a few soft ones, so that he continually developed and played very well. Huet needs a situation where there is no controversy, so he can be great.

    Of course, all of this goes to support my theory that Caps mgmt *knows* that Huet is a controversy player, that he creates sparks for other goalies, and they’re hoping to raise Kolzig’s game considerably, and then by July they trade Huet. Hopefully to a team where he can develop. There are valid objections to my view, but like I said a couple of days ago, call it a hunch.

  46. bigjames says:

    wow, just read the caps website…huet’s win last night is stirring the pot down there big time. they now have the same “who’s the #1 goalie?” issue we did earlier. the arguing and debating is just wild. i am so happy for huet, but honestly, i think it will end up being a distraction for the caps as it was for us earlier in the season.

    but back to OUR team… i think the devils are gonna be pissed off about being shut out last night, and about having to do that horrible post game practice right before the all star break after we, um kicked their butts. so tonight is gonna be no walk in the park. they will play all out for 65 minutes. we cannot let down at all. i am happy and pumped but realistic all the same.

    GO HABS!!

  47. RH says:

    Friday’s three stars, on

    1. Tomas Plekanec
    2. Dan Boyle
    3. Cristobal Huet……in his Habs jersey!

    Gotta go!

  48. RH says:

    Not to overlook tonight’s game but, I hope they can continue there road success when they head out west.

  49. nightmare_49 says:

    Being able to relax a bit and key on our young guys more than usual i have to tip my hat to Don Lever and Ron Wilson for making these players NHL ready also Carbo coached a very good game last night and was glad to see his game plan played to near perfection as they tightened up their game. For a projected 13th placed team 20 wins on the road isn’t too shabby , one behind Detroit.

  50. skoehn says:

    Huet shut out the devils can carey price shut them out tonite….. go habs go

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