Canadiens Outgun Blue Jackets in High-Scoring Affair at Columbus

 

COLUMBUS ó The Montreal Canadiens powered past the Columbus Blue Jackets with a surprising efficiency in front of a raucous crowd at the Gardens, securing a 6-4 victory. Despite being outshot 29-17, Montreal capitalized on their chances, showcasing a sharpshooting performance that left the Blue Jackets' goaltenders bewildered.

Montreal's offensive onslaught began with a power play goal early in the first period, courtesy of Chris McAlpine, who found the back of the net at 6:42 with assists from Ted Donato and Trevor Linden. However, Columbus quickly responded with a shorthanded goal from Denis Savard, assisted by Chris Chelios, at 7:33. Danton Cole gave Columbus the lead with a goal at 12:48, setting the stage for a back-and-forth battle.

The second period was where Montreal truly took control. Marty McSorley tied the game just over a minute into the period, followed by Sergei Fedorov putting Montreal ahead with a fine play from Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. Though Pat Lafontaine equalized for Columbus at 4:35, Donald Audette's power play goal late in the period, assisted by Donato, put Montreal ahead once again.

Despite a spirited effort from Columbus, including a goal from Michael Thelven just before the one minute mark, Montreal's early burst response in the period kept them ahead till the final whistle.  The final period saw continued dominance from Montreal with quick successive goals from Audette at 1:47 and Allan Egeland at 2:37, extending their lead which they would keep for the rest of the period and game.

Mike Vernon started in goal for Montreal and held on for the barrage of shots from Columbus. On the other side, Mike Richter struggled significantly, allowing five goals before being replaced by Peter Sidorkiewicz, who also gave up a goal on just two shots.

Montrealís power play clicked better tonight, converting two out of six opportunities, a marked improvement that played a crucial role in their victory. Meanwhile, Columbus failed to capitalize on their six power play chances, which proved costly in such a tight game.

Sergei Fedorov and Donald Audette were particularly impressive, combining for five points, a key factor in Montrealís offensive output. The game was a rough one for goaltenders on the Columbus side, with neither goalie finding much stability between the pipes.

Coach Larry Robinson of the Canadiens praised his team's resilience and offensive production. "We took advantage of the chances we got and really made them count tonight," Robinson noted. "Itís a good reminder that precision can sometimes outweigh volume when it comes to scoring goals."

The Canadiens will look to carry this momentum forward as they continue their road trip, hoping that their goal-scoring prowess travels with them.

 

-The Montreal Gazette