Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as Canadiens 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 Tuesday night’s game between the Canadiens and Wild in Minnesota.
ST. PAUL – It didn’t take Carey Price long to know it was going to be a special night.
“I made two saves right off the bat and then we scored those two power-play goals and it took all the fight out of them,” Price said after he made 23 saves Tuesday night to lead the Canadiens to a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center.
It was the fourth consecutive win for the Canadiens, boosting their record to 4-2.
Actually, there was plenty of fight in the Wild, but much of it was misdirected as Minnesota found itself shorthanded 10 times and the Canadiens responded with two power-play goals in the first period.
Coach Michel Therrien gave Louis Leblanc some power-play time and the second-year pro found Brian Gionta on a backdoor play to open the scoring at 5:53.
Gionta picked up his second point of the night when he assisted on Tomas Plekanec’s goal at 13:16. Nicklas Backstrom made the save on Gionta’s shot, but he left a rebound for Plekanec.
The one disappointment on the night was an injury to defenceman Francis Bouillon midway through the first period. While Therrien said he would wait until the Canadiens’ doctors had a chance to examine the defenceman in Montreal, the preliminary diagnosis is a strained MCL, which could sideline the veteran for 5-7 weeks.
The injury to Bouillon and the plethora of power plays created a busy night for defenceman Andrei Markov and his surgically repaired knee. He played a season-high 29:28 and picked up an assist on Plekanec’s goal. .
“I feel good,” said Markov, who has grown tired of people asking about his health. “If I didn’t feel good, I wouldn’t be playing.”
The third period was enlivened by a scrap between Brandon Prust and the Wild’s Cal Clutterbuck. This was one of those fights designed to wake the team which is trailing, but Clutterbuck failed to give the Wild the boost because he’s not a fighter and was no match for Prust.
“I was surprised they gave us majors because it wasn’t much of a fight,” Prust said. “He challenged me, but that’s not really his thing.”
The Canadiens are back at the Bell Centre for games against Philadelphia Thursday and Anaheim on Saturday.