Once again, the Montreal Canadiens leaned on Carey Price and, once again, he didn’t disappoint.
The league’s best goalie in goals-against average and save percentage, Price made 31 saves on 32 shots faced, as the Habs held on to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets by a final score of 3-1 on Saturday.
The Habs got the lead on a pair of goals from Max Pacioretty in the first period and from there, Price took over in net. Montreal was outshot 32-24. The Habs managed 11 shots through the final 40 minutes.
Perhaps the biggest save of the night was a team effort from Price and P.K. Subban, as both appeared to get their stick on a Cam Atkinson chance from in close, as it looked like the Columbus forward had a wide open net.
Price, as calm as one could be in a scramble, reached back with the large goal stick and appeared to knock the puck away at the same time as Subban did.
Andrew Hammond will make his second career start tonight when the Ottawa Senators play host to the Florida Panthers. Hammond made 42 saves in a win over the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night in his first career start. It was the 27-year-old’s second NHL appearance. He carries a 2.96 G.A.A. and a .916 save percentage into tonight’s action.
Roberto Luongo gets the nod for the Panthers.
Ducks at Oilers: John Gibson vs. Ben Scrivens
Hurricanes at Devils: Anton Khudobin vs. Keith Kinkaid
Blue Jackets at Canadiens: Curtis McElhinney vs. Carey Price
Jets at Maple Leafs: Michael Hutchinson vs. Jonathan Bernier
Penguins at Blues: Thomas Greiss vs. Brian Elliott
Red Wings at Stars: Jimmy Howard vs. Kari Lehtonen
Lightning at Coyotes: Ben Bishop vs. Mike Smith
Kings at Sharks: Jonathan Quick vs. Antti Niemi
Pressure on Bruins increases after Panthers win six-round SO over Habs
Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo deserves a lot of credit for this outcome as Montreal managed to out shoot the Panthers 39-21 prior to the skills competition. Despite that, Brendan Gallagher was the only member of the Canadiens that solved Luongo in regulation time tonight, although for a time it looked like that might be enough as he gave Montreal a 2-0 lead.
Florida clawed its way back into this one with 26-year-old defenseman Steven Kampfer eventually tying the contest with his first goal of the season:
Dave Bolland accounted for the deciding goal in the shootout.
Florida’s comeback is bad news for the Boston Bruins as it magnifies their recent struggles. After losing five straight games, Boston’s edge over Florida in the battle for the second Wild Card spot has been reduced to a single point. The fight between those two squads might come down to the wire and if that’s the case then they’ll have plenty of opportunities to directly gain an edge as the Bruins and Panthers are scheduled to meet on March 21, March 31, and April 9.
A couple of Olympic gold-medal winners will be between the pipes tonight in Montreal, where the Canadiens’ Carey Price will be staring down the Bell Centre ice at the Panthers’ Roberto Luongo.
Both Canadian netminders are enjoying excellent seasons. Price is a serious Hart Trophy candidate, while Luongo has helped keep Florida in the playoff race with a .920 save percentage in 46 appearances.
With a win, the Panthers would move to within one point of the Bruins for the final wild-card spot in the East.
So let’s hear those “Go Habs Go” chants, Boston sports fans!
Jaroslav Halak will look to rebound from a shaky performance versus the Rangers when the Islanders host the Predators, who are likely to go with Pekka Rinne.
Cam Talbot for the Rangers versus Ryan Miller for the Canucks.
Curtis McElhinney for the Blue Jackets versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.
Ondrej Pavelec will see his first action in a week when the Jets visit Washington to take on Braden Holtby and the Capitals.
Michal Neuvirth for the Sabres versus Ray Emery for the Flyers.
Antti Niemi for the Sharks versus Kari Lehtonen (likely) for the Stars.
With Gonchar and Emelin hurt, Habs recall Tinordi (Updated)
Montreal GM Marc Bergevin has built himself a pretty deep blueline over the last few seasons, and now he gets to see how truly deep it is.
With Sergei Gonchar sidelined and Alexei Emelin leaving Wednesday’s loss to Ottawa with an upper-body injury, the Canadiens have recalled former first-rounder Jarred Tinordi from AHL Hamilton.
Tinordi, 22, was the 22nd overall pick at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has appeared in nine games for the Habs this year, averaging 12:01 TOI per game. His recall may have come sooner, had he not suffered a concussion during this fight versus AHL Utica tough guy Andrey Pedan:
With Emelin out, Montreal was stuck playing five defensemen against the Sens last night: Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, Tom Gilbert, Greg Pateryn and Nathan Beaulieu. Mike Weaver, who was scratched on Wednesday, will presumably draw into the lineup and Tinordi will sit as the extra.
It’s also worth noting the Habs have veteran d-man Bryan Allen still down in AHL Hamilton, should their injury woes on the blueline continue. Allen, acquired from Anaheim earlier this season, has appeared in five games for Montreal this season.