Canadiens can't solve Garnett, Thrashers
The Thrashers handed the Canadiens just their second all-time loss at Philips Arena Monday night. Despite the loss, Montreal still holds a 2-1 edge in the season series.
ATLANTA - Any hopes Claude Julien had of snapping his team's recent road skid were dashed by Thrashers rookie goalie Michael Garnett, who made 36 saves to lead Atlanta to a 4-0 win over the Canadiens, Monday at Philips Arena.
With the loss, the Canadiens (17-11-6) have now dropped nine straight away from the Bell Centre with their last road win dating back to a 3-2 victory over the Sabres on Nov. 4. The nine-game skid matches Montreal's longest drought in over a decade since also dropping nine straight in 1994-95 from Feb. 27 to April 1.
Atlanta (16-16-5) snapped a dubious streak of its own by notching only its second home-ice win over Montreal in 12 meetings since the expansion Thrashers made their NHL debut in 1999-2000.
After having blanked the Devils 1-0 on Friday, Garnett wrote his name into the Thrashers' record book by extending his shutout string to 149 minutes, eclipsing Milan Hnlicka's previous team mark of 129:30 set in 2000-01. The 23-year-old netminder also became the first goaltender in franchise history to post back-to-back shutouts.
Despite Ilya Kovalchuk returning to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension and Marian Hossa earning NHL player of the week honors earlier in the day, the Canadiens fell victim to an unlikely foe - defenseman Jaroslav Modry. Modry, who had not scored a goal in his previous 18 games, enjoyed the biggest offensive night of his 12-year career with a goal and three assists, including the game winner after opening the scoring at the 17:27 mark of the first period.
Besides Modry, Jim Slater, Marc Savard and Kovalchuk also beat Cristobal Huet, who faced 38 shots in his fourth start of the season. It was his second loss in regulation.
The Canadiens will play their next two games under the Florida sun, beginning in Tampa on Wednesday.
NOTES: Claude Julien relied on the same roster he had Friday in Washington as Saku Koivu (groin), Radek Bonk (groin) and Tomas Plekanec (knee) all remained out of the lineup. Koivu and Bonk did make the trip with the team, yet it's unsure when either will be back on the ice...Michael Ryder and Andrei Markov saw their respective point streaks snapped at six...Five of the 12 games played between the Canadiens and Thrashers have been shutouts...The Thrashers needed 26 power-play opportunities before they scored their first goal with the man-advantage against the Canadiens this season...
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com