MONTREAL – Emotions ran high in the Canadiens' 5-3 Monday night loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
High emotion: With both teams not only fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot Monday night, but also hoping to grab a win for the players and coaches up against their former teams, it didn’t take long for the match to get emotional. After a goal mouth scramble to try and tie the game, Lars Eller and the ‘Canes Tim Gleason let that emotion spill out in an explosion of shouting and shoving that continued long after the whistle – something Eller made no apologies for.
“It was nothing, we just both had our adrenaline going,” dropped Eller of the incident after the game. “He thought I speared him in the stomach, but he was lying on the ice and the puck was right there. It’s not my fault that he wasn’t able to stay on his feet – I’m not going to quit on the puck just because he’s lying on the ice.
“Both teams were playing hard and battling for a playoff spot. The second period was one of the best periods I’ve seen us play at home,” added the Dane who finished the night with 14:18 of ice time. “We came out and we played well we just couldn’t finish in the third. There’s not more to say than we should have had it.
Credit the ‘Canes: Despite the disappointing loss, Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth made sure to give credit to Kirk Muller and his troops, acknowledging the hard fought battle that played out between the two teams on Monday night.
“You have to give them credit, that for sure. They made the most of their opportunities and jumped on a lot of loose pucks. We had our guys positioned well, but at the end of the day, hockey is a sport where every inch counts,” pointed out Cunneyworth of the Hurricanes’ three unanswered third period goals. “There were times when they held a lot of pressure on us and we weren’t able to get out of our zone. For their part they did good work and were a team that was hard to play against tonight.”
Four at forty: The Canadiens strongest players continued their trend of leading the team Monday night against the Hurricanes, once again providing the Habs with an offensive punch in the game’s second frame. By the time the match was over, Tomas Plekanec had scored a goal bringing his point total to 40, Max Pacioretty (43) and Erik Cole (42) both added assists and David Desharnais notched one of each (41). Only the Blackhawks, Red Wings and Sharks can count themselves among other NHL teams to currently have four players over 40 points.
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.