Habs continue power-play magic
Saku Koivu scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season, including his seventh on the power play.
MONTREAL - It's no secret that a great power play can take a team a long way in the new NHL and the Canadiens are anxious to find out exactly how far.
Armed with the most lethal power play in the NHL, the Canadiens made the Penguins their latest victims Saturday night. In addition to going 4-for-7 with the man advantage, the Habs came within one goal of matching a franchise record with three power-play goals in the second period alone. The club record, set last season when Bob Gainey first stepped behind the bench along with newly-hired associate coach Guy Carbonneau, saw the Canadiens explode for four power-play goals in the second period of a 6-2 win over the San Jose Sharks on January 14, 2006.
A huge part of the Habs' sizzling special teams this season, Sheldon Souray was at it again versus Sidney Crosby and the Penguins with another power-play goal courtesy of his trusty slapshot.
"We're all working hard and committed to what we each have to do out there," said Souray, after notching his 12th goal of the year to lead all NHL defensemen. "We're getting more and more comfortable and there's a real confidence building whenever we head out for a power-play."
Captain Saku Koivu also likes what he's seen from the power-play so far in 2006-07.
"I think we're taking a lot more shots than ever before and then jumping on rebounds," said Koivu. "We may not always score on the first chance we get, but we're provoking second and third chances and making them count. The key is we're working hard and it's sure paying off."
Now clicking at a 23.1 percent clip, the PP unit is showing no signs of letting up anytime soon.
"The more our power-play climbs up the board, teams are going to gunning for us. We just have to be ready for that," added Souray, who has understandably become a marked man with his 22 power-play points, leaving him tied with Jaromir Jagr and only two points back of Joe Thornton for the league lead. "We're already seeing teams trying to focus their attention on one or two of us, but we have so many different guys stepping up right now that it doesn't matter."
No one has to remind Carbonneau how deadly Souray has been with the man advantage this season.
"If there's a better defenseman on the power play in the league right now, I don't know who it is."
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com