MONTREAL – The Habs rewrite the script in their third consecutive overtime against the Penguins, ending the season series on a high note.
The 2011-12 season series between the Canadiens and Penguins was one filled with tough battles and close calls. With Pittsburgh needing extra time and then a shootout to steal the clubs’ last two meetings, the Habs came to work Tuesday night determined not to let another opportunity slip away, overcoming their Achilles heel to nab a second straight win.
“We maybe haven’t had the most success in shootouts this season, but tonight, the shooters really did a great job of hitting the back of the net. For my part, I tried to use whatever part of my body I could to stop the puck. I got lucky at times, but that’s all part of the game,” said Carey Price who withstood a marathon eight-round shootout, stopping a few of the shooters, it seemed, with mostly nerve.
“At this point in the season, you’ve got to play like you’ve got nothing to lose. You just have to try and let your instincts take over. You saw the two-pad save against Sullivan – that’s something I wouldn’t normally do,” added the All-Star netminder of his less-than-smooth save that did the trick nonetheless. “It was just sheer will to keep the puck out of the net. We might have lost the lead a couple of times over the course of the game, but we made sure that we kept a positive attitude the whole time. You could see it on the faces of all the guys on the bench and on the ice.”
Following up a shutout against the Jets with another strong performance Tuesday night stopping 32 of the Penguins 34 shots, Carey Price offered up some insight to the Habs’ shootout strategy.
“The guys have been doing this a lot in practice recently. They’ve been getting used to deciding what they want to do beforehand and then keeping that idea in their head the whole time and not changing their mind,” explained Price of what likely led to the shootout winning goal by Tomas Plekanec. The Czech finally found the back of the net after coming up short on a more than a couple of breakaways in the game. “Tonight they made the moves they wanted to and it worked.”
Another Hab to find the back of the net, not only in the shootout, but also in regulation, Lars Eller took a moment to explain why their win against the Pens may have been even sweeter than their 7-2 rout of the league-best Red Wings.
“We’ve had a lot of games this season that have been balancing on the edge and could have gone one way or another. Finally things went our way tonight. It’s a great feeling in a game like this to know that you battled and stayed in it and it paid off. The fact that it was a tight match made it all that much better,” shared the Dane who posted his 11th goal of the season, and the Habs’ second of the night, against Marc-Andre Fleury.
“It was really back and forth with a great shootout at the end – probably a great game to watch for the fans, but I didn’t have too many nerves left on the bench,” finished Eller. “I don’t think you can write a better story than that.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
Notebook - Feb. 7, 2012
Canadiens assign Ryan White to the Hamilton Bulldogs for conditioning purposes