A wild game at the Bell centre.
The Montreal Canadiens started the month of December with a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Trashers. The third period of this contest was a roller coaster ride for the fans gathered at the Bell centre yesterday.
The Canadiens dominated the play during the first two frames and was leading by the score of three to nothing at the start of the third period. Among others, Matt D'Agostini scored his very first NHL goal.
The Canadiens were safely rolling towards the win until Georges Laraque forgot to step on the ice with his linemates. The Trashers benefited of this man advantage to score their first goal of the game. A shot from the blue line by Ron Hainsey went past goaltender Carey Price. The gates were open for Atlanta.
A minute later, Hainsey scored his second of the game when the puck just passed the goal line on a mad scramble in front of the net.
The action resumed only to see this game tied at 3 seven seconds later on yet another goal form the Trashers. Right from the face off, a two-on-one was allowed by Montreal's defensive unit. Chris Torburn completed this lightning fast comeback with a perfect shot on this odd man rush.
The Canadiens managed to regain their composure and were the next to score. With five minutes to go, Andrei Kostitsyn gave the lead once again to Montreal with a great individual effort. Robert Lang added a goal in the empty net vacated by Johan Hedberg. The Canadiens were up five to three.
Jason Williams scored in a lst effort with 20 seconds to go but it was too late for the Trashers. Robert Lang's empty net goal stood as the winning goal of this wild contest.
While the Canadiens' win streak improoves to three in a row, we cannot say the this team is playing well yet. Blowing a three goal lead against a marginal team tells about the fragile state of the players confidence and awareness. An awareness event from a marginal player like Georges Laraque almost ended up in a disastrous outcome for the Canadiens.
Montreal will now clash with the New York Rangers and then with the New Jersey Devils.
(Picture: Matt D'Agostini, Canadian Press.)