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Monday, February 18, 2013

Backup Budaj Earns Shutout for Fourth Straight Win

Canadiens outlast Hurricanes scoring three in third to win 3-0 in Montreal
Captain Kirk was in Montreal Monday night.

Captain Kirk Muller that is -- Head Coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Peter Budaj earns his first shutout as a Canadien and picked up his second win in a row as the Habs beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 in Montreal. AP

I like him. I always have. But I don't care much for his team. And goaltender Cam Ward, I'd take him on my team any day. But he always seems to burn the Habs.

Fortunately, not on this night.

On this night, it was Peter Budaj who had the last laugh, netting the shutout as the Habs outlasted the Hurricanes 3-0 for their fourth straight win.

Enjoy it tonight but tomorrow is another day -- they play the Rangers tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden.

With Brendan Gallagher recovering from the concussion he suffered against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night, Ryan White got his chance to re-enter the lineup and prove himself to his coach and team that he is and can be the player they want: someone who brings energy, emotion and momentum to his team from the fourth line. And on this night, he didn't disappoint.

And though he didn't score, rookie sensation Alex Galchenyuk once again proved the difference-maker, stickhandling into Carolina's zone, drawing the defense towards him and somehow managing to get the puck to Brandon Prust who potted his first goal as a Canadien. And it was the game winner on this night, earning the rough and tumble Prust the second star.

But tonight was Budaj's night. Not that he had to stand on his head or anything. But he was there when the Canadiens needed him and that's all a team can ask from their goaltender. He earned the first star and I'm happy for the guy. A lot of fans don't have a lot of confidence in him but as a goalie I know, it's a tough gig coming in when you haven't been playing. He did what he had to do helping his team pick up four big points during Price's bout with the flu. And this will go a long way with his teammates later in the season when he has to take the crease again.

But now what does Therrien do? Go with the hot hand? Err, probably not. If Price is cleared, he'll play on Broadway Tuesday night.

This wasn't a classic hockey game and was reminiscent of the game in Florida last week until Prust scored early in the third. Then Tomas Plekanec took a hard shot which hit high off of Cam Ward's shoulder and bounced in, and the Canadiens were on their way. We could barely get our tweets off about that one when Max Pacioretty finally broke his goose egg by putting a ground ball on net that somehow hopped over Cam Ward's glove hand.

Ward must not have played infield in baseball. Ugly, but I can imagine he was still stinging from Plekanec's shot which caught him up high. Game over.

At least the Habs are improving where they have to. On this night they bested the Hurricanes in the faceoff circle, winning 54% of the draws.

They're not doing it the fancy way either. Nothing wrong with that. Coach Therrien has the squad playing a strong, patient two-way TEAM game where everyone is doing what they need to do to succeed. And they're racking up the wins. Four in a row now. Let's see what they can do against the Rangers Tuesday night.

1 comment:

  1. Finally saw a game last night while out with a friend; from what I could tell it was a tight game the first 2 periods. Then I went home, missed all the action! Love Prust's goal; came from Galchenyuk's driving towards the net. Then the blast from Plekanec, ouch! And the knuckler from MaxPac. Going the HABS way these days...made the Hurricanes seem like candy 'Canes...