Saturday, October 31, 2009

Blackhawks edge sleeping Canadiens 3-2

Canadiens vs. Blackhawks12.thumbnail Chicago celebrates Kris Vesteeg’s goal Friday night – Getty Images

Despite a strong effort by Carey Price, the Chicago Blackhawks kept coming at the Montreal Canadiens goaltender, firing 36 shots and skating away with a 3-2 win Friday night.

It was Price’s first start in six games, and his first against the man he replaced as Montreal’s number one goalie 19 months ago, Cristobal Huet.

Tensions ran high early when Chicago’s Andrew Ladd left his feet and elbowed Matt D’Agostini.

imageAndrew Ladd delivers a flying elbow to Matt D’Agostini Friday – Reuters photo

Ladd was given a five minute major, a ten-minute misconduct and a game misconduct for the hit. D’Agostini did not return to the game.

The Canadiens would only have a three minute power play as Kyle Chipchura was called for a double roughing minor when he got into it with Ladd.

Montreal wasted their opportunity however, only getting one shot on Huet.

Canadiens-vs.-Blackhawks-01.thumbnail Price makes a stop on John Madden – Reuters photo

The Blackhawks scored the only goal of the first period when a Kris Versteeg dump out, from behind the Canadiens net, bounced of the skate of defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron and in past Price at 13:46.

On a Chicago power play, in the second period, Cam Barker blasted a shot from just outside the faceoff circle, past a screened Price, to make it 2-0.

The Blackhawks outshot the Canadiens 27-17 through two periods, but Montreal began to show life and came back to tie it up before the 40 minutes were over.

Mike Cammalleri’s sixth goal of the season put Montreal on the scoreboard at 15:55. It was winger’s 300th career NHL point.

Travis Moen then slipped in a shot that squeezed between the goal post and Huet’s goal pad with 2.2 seconds remaining.

Despite a solid first 15 minutes in the third period by the Canadiens,  Patrick Sharp scored his sixth of the season, on a one-timer, to take the game for the Blackhawks.

Canadiens vs. Blackhawks11.thumbnail Cristobal Huet had a 20 save night Friday night. – Reuters photo

Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik summed up his teams lack of commitment to a full 60 minutes.

“We played better than in Pittsburgh, but the result was the same.,” he said. “We were not ready for first period. We showed character to come back in second. But in the third, the Hawks wanted it more than we did.”

The Canadiens return home to the Bell Saturday for a game with their longtime rivals , The Toronto Maple Leafs, who also lost 3-2 to Buffalo.

Mike Cammalleri hopes his team can rebound from two straight losses, and their fifth straight road loss.

“(Saturday) night we'll have no excuse,” he said. “I'd like to feel a sense of urgency on our team.”

The Canadiens will not have a pre-game skate on Saturday, after taking the red-eye home from Chicago.

Stats of the Game: The Canadiens power play was 0 for 3, and had just two shots. The Blackhawks won 69% of their faceoffs.

Three Stars: 1. Kris Versteeg 2. Patrick Kane 3. Mike Cammalleri

Game Stud and Dud:

Stud: Carey Price had a strong night in goal, despite the loss, making 33 saves and showed excellent stick work to move the puck up the ice.

Dud: Andrei Kostitsyn got some time to prove himself early,on the No. 1, but was ineffective and his crucial misplay led to the Blackhawks’ opening for the winner.

Notes: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews missed his fourth straight game because of concussion-like symptoms. Ben Eager has missed eleven games with somilar problems for Chicago.

Friday’s game was the Canadiens first to Chicago in over three years (Oct. 18, 2006).

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