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The Montreal Canadiens fans who braved a snowstorm to pack Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum Saturday night, were rewarded with an overtime game winning goal by Max Pacioretty.
Saturday’s game marked both the debut of New York Islanders top prospect, 2011 5th overall pick Ryan Strome, as well as the return of veteran Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
Leading up to the game against the Habs, Ryan Strome (20) was the reigning CCM/AHL Player of the week (two straight weeks), as well as the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for November. Following the waiving of Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Strome was called up to ignite a spark in the Islanders struggling offense with his AHL-leading 33 points in 23 games.
The game started out back and forth, then two minutes into the game, Eric Boulton and George Parros dropped the gloves. The two traded punches in an explosive bout, before Boulton hit Parros on the button, and Parros’ legs gave out from under him. After a few seconds on the ground Parros tried to get back up but stumbled back down to the ice, his Canadiens teammates as well as the on-ice officials called the athletic trainers to the ice to tend to him. Parros later would skate off ice to the locker room, and wouldn’t return to the game.
Before long it became obvious that the game boiled down to a battle of goaltending. Evgeni Nabokov, who returned to action after suffering a groin injury during the November 16th game against the Detroit Red Wings, made 24 saves in his first game back and put on a show while keeping his team in the game. Nabokov’s Montreal counterpart, Carey Price went toe-to-toe in matching his acrobatic moves and keeping the game scoreless with 21 saves against the Islanders offense.
Both goaltenders were perfect through 60 minutes of play, but Max Pacioretty broke the scoreless-game for the Canadiens. David Desharnais wrapped around the back of the net, Nabokov read the wrap-around but he didn’t see the pass to Pacioretty in the slot at point blank range. Pacioretty found the net behind Nabokov, and then proceeded to sheath his stick like a sword in his belt as his teammates jumped off the bench and mobbed him, to the delight of Habs fans in the crowd.
Three Stars of the Game
1) Carey Price
2) Max Pacioretty
3) Evgeni Nabokov