Andrei Markov scored on a power play with thirty-eight second remaining in overtime to give the Canadiens a 4-3 win over the New Jersey Devils at the Bell Centre Sunday night. The victory ended an eight game New Jersey winning streak in Montreal. Ryan White, Brendan Gallagher and Brendon Prust also scored for the Canadiens. The Habs had a 3-1 lead in the third period but New Jersey tied the game on goals by David Clarkson and Dainus Zubrus to force the overtime. The Canadiens outshot the Devils 32-25. The three stars were Markov, Gallagher and the Devils Patrik Elias, who assisted on all three New Jersey goals.
Summing It Up -
Taking Ownersship – The Canadiens had a terrific first period against a veteran team that reached the Stanley Cup Final last year. Ten different players recorded hits as the team took control over the entire ice surface. In the third minute, fourth liner Ryan White scored off an Alexei Emelin rebound to get the Canadiens on the board. The Habs had eight solid scoring chances in the first period alone.
Full Speed Ahead - In the fourteenth miinute Alex Galchenyuk jumped on the ice and in two strides reached full speed tracking down a loose puck heading into the Devils end. He quickly spotted the other rookie, Brendan Gallagher streaking up the middle. Galchenyuk handed Gallagher his first NHL goal, a ‘gimme’ off a perfectly timed pass. 2-0 Canadiens at the end of the first.
New Jersey Being New Jersey – The Devils are not a team that tends to lie down when things go badly. They started to battle back in the second, playing the kind of road game for which they’re famous, which is based on a stifling defense, especially in the neutral zone and taking the crowd out of the picture. The Canadiens didn’t rccord a second period shot on goal until the eleven minute mark. Patrick Elias tipped in a point shot by Mark Fayne to make it 2-1 which was where it stood after two periods.
You Can’t Teach This Stuff - Early in the third period Galchenyuk gloved a clearing pass inside the Devils blueline. Instead of winding up for the big shot, he literally flipped the puck ahead to Brandon Prust who was cutting across the crease. Prust flicked it past Brodeur and the Canadiens led 3-1. First two point game for the kid, or “Chucky” as they’re now calling him in the dressing room.
They Never Go Away - The Devils battled back again. Galchenyuk and Prust got highsticking penalties at the same time and playing two men short David Clarkson scored to make it 3-2. And at 13:02 Patrick Elias outraced the defence to erase an icing call and set up Dainus Zubrus for the tieing goal.
The Dreaded Power Play - We used the phrase sarcastially last year. This year. so far at least, there’s reason to fear the Canadiens with the man advantage. Four minutes into the overtime Erik Cole got behind the defence and Andy Greene had to take a holding penalty. 4-on-3. It took the Canadiens 21 seconds to get the winning goal. Andrei Markov with his exquisite ability to know exactly when to go to the net, picked the puck out of a crowd and scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season. Assists to Cole and Rene Bourque.
On a Roll - That’s three wins in a row now for the Canadiens. For the third straight game they outmuscled their opponents. The final ‘hit’ count was 26-16,
Statistic of the Night – Seven times Rene Bourque had chances to score and missed the net entirely, including three breakaways. One of those breakaways was in the final minute of the game. Even his assist on the game-winning goal was created off a shot that missed and came off the back boards to Erik Cole.
Unsung Hero of the Night – Brian Gionta who produced seven shots on goal but failed to turn up on the scoresheet.
Next Up - The Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday at the Bell Centrre. Then the Canadiens will have to make a career decision on Galchenyuk. Do they send him back to junior hockey or keep him in Montreal? Most think this is a no-brainer. There seems to be nothing more junior hockey will teach him, but the Canadiens are keeping their options open.