SUNRISE – A little sun and four points was just what the doctor ordered as the Habs got back on track with two wins in Florida.
Only two days after watching a shutout slip through his fingers and battling for a shootout win, Carey Price turned in another big performance to post his first shutout of 2012-13. A far cry from the Canadiens’ last meeting with the Panthers that saw the Habs light the lamp four times, Thursday’s tilt in Sunrise was a goaltending duel to the end that saw the game head into overtime still tied 0-0.
"It seemed like both teams wanted to sit back and wait for the other to make a mistake, but neither team really made too many mistakes,” said Price, following the Habs’ win. "The guys played really well in front of me. We limited their chances all game and they only got a couple of really quality chances. Then they came out strong in the third period and we just had to weather the storm."
Always ready to place the focus on the team and hesitant to take too much credit for himself, it was still clear that Price was glad to get his first shutout of the campaign out of the way and inked in the books.
"I mentioned last game that it would be nice to close one out and I finally did get one done,” added Price, of the 17th
shutout of his NHL career. “But shutouts are a team thing and like I said, we played very well defensively tonight."
Incredibly, the last time the Canadiens closed out regulation-time still deadlocked in a 0-0 tie was on Nov. 28, 2006 – also against the Florida Panthers. The Habs picked up the two points in that one too, but in a shootout instead of overtime, whereas this time around Rene Bourque got the chance to play hero, ending the road trip on a high note.
“It was a great feeling. It’s the kind of game where it’s hard to get good scoring chances,” shared Bourque, who logged 19:24 of ice time against the Panthers and turned in another strong performance, as he has all season. “I think we all played solidly as a team and Carey played an incredible game in nets. We knew that it was going to have to be a dirty goal like that that was going to end it.”
After a quick start to his NHL career, Alex Galchenyuk may have spent a few games off the scoresheet, but certainly made his next point a crucial one, assisting on Bourque’s game-winning goal.
“I might not have produced much offensively over the past couple of games, but I knew when I was coming into the NHL that I was entering the hardest league there was to play in. I’m still young and I need to keep working hard all the time. It’s always going to be tough, but it feels good to be able pitch in some offense,” said Galchenyuk, evidently happy to have been given the opportunity to hit the ice at such an important juncture of the game. “It was good to be on the ice for the overtime period. It puts you in a situation where you have a chance to make the big play that can help your team win the game.
“I don’t think I ever played in a game that was still tied at zero after 60 minutes,” he added. “Both goaltenders played incredible games. I’m really happy to see Carey get the shutout.”Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
Game highlights: Habs vs. Panthers
Boxscore: Habs vs. Panthers
The Numbers Game - February 14, 2013