Going into tonight’s game, no one was expecting a “barnburner” between the Canadiens and the Wild. Both teams are out of the playoff picture, and both have struggled mightily this season. Not only was this game highly entertaining, but it was probably one of the weirdest games of the season.
Ryan White and Stephane Veilleux dropped the gloves 10 seconds into the game to get things started. Then, the Canadiens 29th ranked power play went to work, as PK Subban scored on a one-timer from the point to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead.
Things only got weirder from there. Minnesota’s starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom was forced from the game because of an apparent leg injury just minutes after the goal. Josh Harding replaced Backstrom, but even he didn’t fair much better. Then the Habs’ power play struck again, as Campoli, Gomez and Eller completed a beautiful tic-tac-toe play to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead.
Matt Kassian scored his first NHL goal before the period ended to cut Montreal’s lead to 2-1.
In the second period, Montreal’s red-hot powerplay continued producing, as Max Pacioretty buried a beautiful wrister past Harding, to extend the Habs lead to 3-1.
David Desharnais added a third period goal, and the Canadiens were up 4-1 with less than 10 minutes to go.
Cue the craziness…
With less than four minutes remaining in the game, Matt Kassian scored his second to cut the Habs lead to 4-2, no big deal, right?
Just over two minutes later, Dany Heatley beat Carey Price to bring the Wild back to within a goal.
With time winding down in the third period, Carey Price took a shot at the Wild’s empty net, which Dany Heatley intercepted. The puck found it’s way to Devin Setoguchi, who tied the game with 10 seconds remaining.
Neither team scored in overtime, so the teams went to a shootout.
After Desharnais beat Harding, it was up to Devin Setoguchi to score to keep the shootout going.
Not only did he not score, but Setoguchi wiped out so bad, that only Dennis Wideman could truly appreciate it. You will see it on the blooper reels for years to come.
“You got to feel bad for the guy,” said former Wild and current Canadiens tough guy Brad Staubitz.
“I was happy but at the same time, he’s probably going to be on some reels for a while now.”
Ryan White was a force to be reckoned with tonight, as he dropped the gloves with Stephane Veilleux twice, including one instance where he seemed to jump the Wild forward.
“I was just sending a message,” said White.
“[Him] wacking Pricey like that, I don’t think that’s going to happen too much to this team anymore.”
The Canadiens end their losing streak at five games, and even though they did it the hard way, they were just happy to get the win.
“It was a strange one,” said Habs head coach Randy Cunneyworth.
“I don’t even know where to begin really…but I’m glad for the W, a W is a W and that’s the main thing.”
The Canadiens will take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre on Saturday night, before taking off for their annual Western Canadian road trip next week.
Even with tonight’s win and Carolina’s loss, the Habs are still in last place in the Eastern Conference. The “Fail for Nail” campaign is in full effect in La Belle Province.