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Game 50: Canadiens vs Golden Knights AKA Winning in Spectacular Fashion

January 19, 2020, 10:36 AM ET [332 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
For one last time before the break, the Canadiens were hosting a game at the Bell Centre last night as Max Pacioretty and the Golden Knights came to town. Having fired their head coach Gerard Gallant this week, the Knights had managed to get a win in Ottawa after 4 successive losses and they were looking to win a second game in a row, just like the Habs were hoping to do. The home crowd was in great shape at the start of the game and for some reason, they decided to boo Max Pacioretty as he was showed on the jumbotron, which prompted a great reaction from the anthem singer Alexandre Sylvestre who thought he was getting booed and looked rather puzzled:

The crowd stayed on the former captain's case for the whole game, booing him whenever he touched the puck. To be honest, I find that rather annoying. I can understand boing a player who has wronged the team in some way or an opponent who has done something to one of our players (like Chara for instance) but a former captain who was traded? I just don't get it.

That being said, the Habs came out strong last night and the charge was lead by the 4th line. The Cousins-Thompson-Weise line is bringing a lot to the table right now and to see Nick Cousins score twice in the same game was just an added bonus. As for Weise, should he manage to keep his spot on the 4th line when the Habs come back from the All-Star break, he will be playing his 500th NHL game which is no small feat for a support player. He finished the game with 2 assists and 4 hits last night and it's hard to find anything wrong with his performance...that being said, when Drouin, Gallagher and Byron are ready to go, it will more than likely be hard for him to stay in the line-up.

Ilya Kovalchuk also had himself a great night against the Knights, he scored the second goal of the game by going to the net and picking up a rebound and was clutch in the shootout. The Bell Centre DJ clearly enjoys the Kolvashow as well since he played Beyoncé's "Put a Ring on it" as Kovy was showed on the screen. Was that perhaps a very subtle message to Marc Bergevin? It might just have been a coincidence but it sure cracked me up.

Joel Armia completed the score in the first by deflecting a Brett Kulak shot behind Marc-André Fleury to make it 3-0 Habs. The Bell Centre was rocking and it seemed like the game was pretty much over...but to think that would be not knowing this season's Habs very well. Unfortunately, this team has made a habit of getting a lead and then losing it and last night was no exception.

The second period was all Vegas, they attacked Price's net relentlessly with 11 shots while the Canadiens only managed 6 on Fleury's net. Unsurprisingly, Vegas managed to cut the Canadiens' 3 goal lead into a 1 goal lead thanks to goals from Marchessault and Stastny. Thankfully, Montreal woke up in the 3rd and Nick Cousins scored his second of the game to put the Canadiens ahead by 2. A lead that would hold until the final 2 minutes of the game when the Knights pulled their goalie and scored twice to send the game to overtime (Pacioretty getting one of the two goals).

After surrendering a pair of goals at such a critical time, the Habs could have given up but they didn't. They completely dominated the extra frame, keeping possession of the puck and putting 7 shots on net while the Knights only had one. Fleury stole the show with an Hasek worthy cartwheel stop on Kovalchuk on a breakaway and 5 minutes of intense action just wasn't enough to crown a winner.

As for the shootout, both team's first shooters scored (Kovalchuk and Marchessault) but the goaltenders stepped up for the next two rounds and it took an extra round for the Habs to win. Tomas Tatar sealed the deal with some wonderful moves to fool Fleury and Carey Price made the final save on Smith before showing how happy he was to pull off that win.

Even with that win though, the Habs are still 6 points out of the 3rd place in the division and 7th points out of the last wild card spot. The players clearly do not want to throw in the towel but it seems highly unlikely (or even impossible) for them to make the playoffs. It will be interesting to see whether or not Bergevin can face the facts and do the right thing by being a seller at the deadline. The Habs will only be back in action on Monday January 27th when they'll take on the "Ovechkinless" Capitals since the captain will serve his yearly "i'm not going to the All-Star Game" suspension.
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