Canadiens hold Stamkos at 58 goals; Budaj’s blooper reel offering

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On paper, playing the sad-sack Montreal Canadiens was a great chance for Steven Stamkos to bolster his chances to hit the 60-goal mark. Instead, he was held at 58 tallies as his four shots on goal failed to befuddle Peter Budaj.

Budaj generally had a light night of work, needing just 14 out of 16 saves to collect a 5-2 win. Still, the night won’t be all gravy for the mediocre backup, whose blunder of a pass set up an easy Vincent Lecavalier goal that will be blooper fodder for some time.

The Canadiens’ most productive combo instead highlighted the night, as both Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole collected two goals. That pushes Pacioretty to 32 and Cole to 34 in 2011-12, making them rare bright spots on what has mostly been a blight of a season.

Check out full highlights of the game below:

Stamkos’ road to 60

After giving himself a small cushion, Stamkos must score a goal per game in his final duo to hit 60. Here’s a look at those two remaining contests, including how many tallies he already has against each opponent:

Thursday: at Toronto Maple Leafs (one goal in three games)

Saturday: at Winnipeg Jets (three goals in five contests)

Theoretically speaking, the two teams are “vulnerable” enough that an empty-net goal or two isn’t out of the question. That being said, the Maple Leafs delighted in spoiling things for Buffalo earlier this week and the Jets are formidable at home.

Considering those factors and more, how do you feel about Stamkos’ chances of reaching 60? Let us know in the comments.