MONTREAL - If there was ever a night this season when it looked as though Scott Gomez would snap his goal scoring streak, it was Saturday night in Montreal against his former squad from New York.
Gomez played his best game of the season by far and set himself up for a few quality scoring chances in the Canadiens 4-0 win over the Rangers. While he didn't find the back of the net thanks to some solid saves by Martin Biron, he did set up Brian Gionta twice, and now has three assists in the last three games. He was a plus-two on the night in 14:43 of ice time while firing four shots on goal. If he continues with performances like that, he will be an asset for the Canadiens, even if it is in a third line roll.
Carey Price earned his 14th career shutout and earned back-to-back bagels for the first time in his career, while extending his shutout streak to 127:30. While it was a lighter night for Price in goal, he did make a couple of key saves in the game which didn't open the door for any Rangers momentum. Despite the fact he faced just 17 shots, his teammates were quick to credit him after the game for making key saves.
The trio of Gionta, Michael Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec had some extra jump in their step on Saturday as well. They combined for five points on 13 shots in the game, which accounted for 41.9 per cent of the Montreal's shot total. Plekanec's power play goal from the point was a heck of a shot, but his hot stick as of late is thanks to his passing skills. He now has six points in the last three games, with five of those being assists. He has 10 assists in the last eight games as well.
It doesn't appear as though the Canadiens will have any new healthy bodies back for the game against the Bruins on Monday night. Jacques Martin gave the team Sunday off to rest up for another busy four-game week which has home games with Boston and Pittsburgh sandwiching road games in Carolina and Philadelphia.
It's understandable that the slow start to the season had caused a little nervous feeling with the fans in Montreal, but Saturday night was the loudest and most festive atmosphere the Bell Centre has seen so far this season. The standing ovation through the final minute of the game is something that should carry over into the start of Monday night's tilt against the rival Bruins.
And, as is always the way in Montreal, it was a very touching tribute to Eddy Palchak prior to the game. This past week, there have been many stories told about Eddy and how he was loved by the players and was best described as being "part of the furniture" of the Forum, which was a great compliment to his dedication to the team, the players and the organization. The chants of "Eddy, Eddy" from the fans just added to the special feeling.
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