MONTREAL – After reaching new heights last season, Andrei Markov has continued to soar in 2008-09.
His tying goal and shootout marker against the Rangers not withstanding, Markov made a little personal history by helping set the table instead. Thanks to his set-up of Alex Kovalev’s power-play goal in the second period and Maxim Lapierre’s goal in the third, Markov reached the 45-assist mark for the first time of his eight-year NHL career.
Never one to chat needlessly, Markov shrugged off his new benchmark and preferred keeping his eye on the prize—a playoff spot.
“Every point is huge for us right now,” understated Markov, who now leads all NHL defensemen in assists just ahead of the Red Wings’ Brian Rafalski. “I think we played a strong game overall. This is definitely an improvement over our recent games.”
Renown for his trademark backhand move in shootouts, Markov decided to throw the Rangers Henrik Lundqvist a curve by mixing it up for a change. Instead a low backhand through the five-hole, Markov instead channeled his inner Kovalev by rifling a wrist shot off the post and past Lundqvist to keep the shootout alive.
“Well I guess my shot isn’t so bad after all. I also don’t have only one move, either,” smirked Markov.
Markov is indeed full of surprises and his point production isn’t one of them.