TAMPA BAY – It didn’t take long for the two newest members of the Canadiens to make their presence felt in Tuesday night’s game.
History in motion: When Blake Geoffrion jumped on the ice in Tampa Bay Tuesday night, he made immediate history, becoming the first fourth-generation family member to don the iconic jersey of the Montreal Canadiens.
“It was definitely a special feeling to put that jersey on for the first time. At the same time I didn’t plan to let it distract me from my objective. I know at the end of the season I’ll be able to look back on this moment and what it meant, but right now, my goal is to concentrate on helping this team win some games,” dropped Geoffrion who may find himself with a few more butterflies in his stomach on Thursday night when he plays his first game at the Bell Centre. “My mother and my father should both be there. It’ll be a special moment and I’m hoping we can get the win.”
The 24-year-old forward likely didn’t have much time to get nervous in Tuesday’s first period considering his head coach used him more than any other Habs forward in the game’s opening frame.
“It felt good to be able to get that many minutes right out of the gate,” added Geoffrion. “I was pretty tired by the end of the period – I was surprised he was using me that much.”
Five for fighting: Brought on board to add another physical element to the Canadiens’ current roster, it didn’t take Brad Staubitz long to live up to his billing. By the time the second period was out, the 6-foot-1, 215 pound forward had already racked up 12 minutes of penalties thanks to an interference call and 10-minute misconduct he was handed for grabbing Ryan Malone from the bench after the Lightning forward jumped Alexei Emelin in front of his team.
“I was a little surprised with that. I thought Emelin did a pretty good job of sticking up for himself, getting him back after taking a hit from him. Malone, kind of overreacted and he put us on a five minute power play – so that was pretty good for us,” said Staubitz. While the Canadiens’ forward may not have been on the ice to drop the gloves with Malone when the incident occurred, he got his chance in the third, going toe-to-toe with Pierre-Cederic Labrie after the Tampa forward threw a hard hit on Chris Campoli.
“There was a hit that I saw on the far end, so I just went in, trying to stick up for a teammate,” finished Staubitz, who will be facing off against his former team on Thursday when the Wild visit the Bell Centre. “That’s just part of my game; I play hard and physical whenever I can.”
Opportunity cost: The Canadiens’ power play dealt with another tough night on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Unable to capitalize on seven second-period minutes with the man advantage, head coach Randy Cunneyworth still made sure to recognize that his team’s troubles in finding the back of the net were due large in part to a hot goalie at the other end of the ice.
“Their goaltender was excellent. There were a few times where he really bailed out their team. Both goalies actually did that over the course of the game, and Carey kept us in it on more than a few occasions. You have to give Garon credit for his efforts,” said Cunneyworth of the tightly contested goaltending duel that took place over the course of the match.
“We worked hard, and I don’t think we ever gave up,” he added. “We had some very good stretches where we dominated them in their zone, but their goalie played a heck of a game.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
The Numbers Game - Feb. 28, 2012
Welcome to the team
Geoffrion called-up ; Leblanc reassigned