The west coast trip was a success for the Habs. Rather than rest on their laurels they came back on home ice and came out strong for the 21,000 plus in attendance.
At times it looked like the Jackets would mount a comeback after they tied the game up at 3. But a late marker from Tomas Plekanec in the final 2 minutes paired with the eventual empty netter would seal the deal for the Bleu Blanc Rouge.
They opened up the scoring early on. A power-play goal by Bourque set up by a gorgeous cross ice pass from P.K. Subban. It's becoming a habit to mention Subban and the score-sheet, he now has 10 points in 7 games this season which is tied for 2nd in the league.
Along with P.K.,Andrei Markov managed to jump start the offense tonight. Markov scored a shorthanded goal when the Blue Jackets received a power-play on a questionable elbowing call issued to Subban. During this penalty-kill the fore-check made the Jackets cough up the puck in their zone and end up right on the stick of Markov who ripped a shot by Bobvroski.
Bobrovski, the current Vezina holder stopped 31 of the 35 shots he faced and was the reason that the game didn't get out of hand much earlier as the Habs did create many difficult chances early on.
In nets for the Canadiens was Carey Price. Coming off a shutout in his last outing he put together a respectable performance and stopped 30 of 33. He was saved early on by a great defensive play by Josh Gorges, the puck was free in front of the net while the Jackets were scrambling towards the goal he cleared it away with his stick. Gorges also contributed offensively with a helper.
The Blue Jackets managed to get a stand out performance from Boone Jenner, the youngster put up a pair of goals and led the team with 6 shots on goal.
On the injury front it was announced that Pacioretty would be missing at least the next 3 weeks. His natural ability to find the back of the net will be missed, this will force the team to pull together with scoring from other sources. It was a good time for Bourque to make his presence felt, as well as Plekanec.
One observation this evening, was the distribution of ice-time between the top 2 defense pairings. While Diaz led all defencemen with 23:41, Markov was a close second 23:35 and Gorges and Subban came in with 22 minutes each. The ability to provide some time to rest his stars is a not just a testament to the performance of his third and forth defenders but also help prevent any further injuries to the already decimated blue-line.
Tthe Canadiens will have much to prove being on home ice for the next few games. They are making a statement: They intend to compete for top spot in their division rather than simply fight for a playoff spot this season.
(Photo: Courtesy of SB Nation)