NHL Game Summary - Vancouver at Montreal
(Tuesday, February 24th)
Final Score: Montreal 3, Vancouver 0
Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Jaroslav Halak delivered a stellar performance between the pipes, turning away all 34 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season and fourth of his career, as Montreal defeated the Vancouver Canucks, 3-0, in a tussle at the Bell Centre between teams of contrasting fortunes.
Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Markov each had a goal for a spiraling Canadiens club that entered play having dropped 12 of their previous 16 games.
"It was a great team effort," Halak said. "A huge win for us. In the first period, I got lucky sometimes. (The puck) hit the post, but other than that, I was seeing the puck pretty well."
Roberto Luongo made 14 saves for the surging Canucks, who, despite the setback, are a tremendous 8-2-0 in the month of February.
Montreal opened the scoring late in the first period. While killing a two-man advantage, Canadiens captain Saku Koivu dove at the blueline to push the puck to center ice. Plekanec exited the penalty box, gathered the loose disc, broke in alone and fired a shot off the post to give the home team a 1-0 lead with 1:18 remaining, three seconds after Alex Kovalev finished serving a double- minor for high-sticking.
"It was the first period," Luongo said of the difference in the game. "We had a 5-on-3 for two minutes. Unfortunately, we couldn't get it in. They got a breakaway and they scored. It was a big momentum shift in the game."
Vancouver left winger Alex Burrows was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for cross-checking with 6:33 to play in the middle stanza. Henrik Sedin had a great chance shorthanded for the Canucks, but was denied on a breakaway. Moments later, Plekanec slid a pass through the crease to Markov sneaking in from the left point and the offense-minded defenseman banged the puck home with 3:52 remaining in the frame for a 2-0 Habs lead.
Maxim Lapierre cemented the win with an empty-net tally in the game's final seconds.
Vancouver had not lost in 11 straight meetings with Montreal, posting 10 wins and a tie over that span...The Canadiens finished 1-for-7 on the power play, while Vancouver was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
02/24 23:18:03 ET