SUNRISE – Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Panthers, Jacques Martin was focused on making sure his players were all on the same page. Mission accomplished.
After seeing seven different Habs factoring in on the scoring, all but two players registering at least one shot, four players enjoying multi-point nights and the winning netminder posting his seventh shutout of the campaign, the Canadiens were basking in the glow of a perfect team win.
“I think you could see we were all on the same page today,” confirmed rookie forward Lars Eller
, who had a goal and an assist against the Panthers. “Carey [Price] was great again in the net for us. We worked together all 60 minutes and we also took a lot less penalties than we’ve had the last four or five games which makes it easier.”
Since the penalty killing unit didn’t have much chance to practice on Thursday night, resident shutdown defenseman Hal Gill found a different way to contribute to the win. Notching the first goal of the game – and his first since December 31, 2009, the Habs blue-liner picked up the fifth game-winning goal of his career in Florida.
“Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while,” joked Gill, who finished a plus-3 against the Panthers. “We were rolling tonight. We had a lot of guys going and everyone was chipping in and doing the little things right and it made a big difference.
“These are points that we need,” he added. “We have a lot of tough games coming up and we need to get points when we can, but more importantly we need to play good hockey and stick with our system. We still have things to work on but it was a good effort.”
Turning aside all 30 shots he faced at the BankAtlantic Center, Price earned his 12th career shutout on Thursday night. Enjoying the best seat in the house for the 4-0 win, the game’s first star liked what he saw from his teammates at both ends of the ice.
“It got a little hairy a couple times but our guys did a great job of coming back. A few times I was down and out but our guys were right there blocking shots and helping me out,” praised Price, who also picked up his 30th win of the season in the Sunshine State. “I thought we looked pretty solid. Our team was snapping it around and I thought we were playing good two-way hockey. I think everyone was feeling pretty good out there tonight.”Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Postgame comments: Martin | Eller | Gill | Price | Moen
Numbers game - March 3
BoxscoreCanadiens 4, Panthers 0