Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Christmas present for Mike took us to Montreal, his first trip there, our third. While it was to be a three day trip, we actually cut it short because we altered our plans for the week and a half span that Mike was on spring break (see 'Detroit, Michigan').

We picked Mike up at his dad's on Wednesday morning, and began the five hour drive to Montreal. Along the way, we stopped at the Davidson Brothers Brewing Company in Glens Falls for lunch. Very good food - a keeper! Back on the road after lunch, we passed through the border without incident, and arrived in Montreal around 5:00.

We stayed at the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain, an older hotel located in Centre' Ville, and most importantly literally one block away from the Centre' Bell! Mike hit the pool before we got changed and headed to the game.

For this game, we had seats in the upper deck, 400 level, near the Molson Ex Zone! This is the area where all of the chants start at Le Centre Bell, and it seems to be the area where the louder fans usually sit. We had a good view of the rink, and, even though they were top row, I'd sit there again in a heartbeat - just to BE in that building rocks! The home team lost this game though, much to the chagrin of their fans, but we had a great time none the less!

On Thursday morning, we got up and decided to do some 'sightseeing' before heading back home. We grabbed breakfast at the Starbucks in the hotel, and then walked through the underground city. Mike went skating at the indoor rink at Place St. Bonaventure, and for one last cuisine experience we went to Dunn's Famous for some poutine and smoked meat sandwiches before heading back home.

We made the drive straight through, stopping in Oneonta for gas, before arriving home around 8:30.


The Centre Bell from our hotel window

Hurricanes 2, Canadiens 1
Associated Press

MONTREAL (AP) -Cam Ward kept the Carolina Hurricanes in the game through an abysmal opening period.

That gave Brandon Sutter and Eric Staal a chance to put a dent in Montreal's drive for a playoff spot while keeping the Hurricanes' slim postseason hopes alive.

Staal scored 2:55 into the third period and Ward made 34 saves to lead Carolina to a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens on Wednesday night.

Staal broke a tie with his 24th goal, beating Carey Price from the right edge of the crease. Sutter drew the Hurricanes even at 1 when he got credit for his 20th goal early in the second.

Ward stopped 11 shots in the first, 13 in the second, and 10 in the third to win his second straight start after missing 17 games because of a back injury.

"We were trying a whole new thing, to see if we could win a game without actually taking a stride in the first," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said. "It was a short experiment - it wasn't going particularly well. We tried first gear in the second period, but all joking aside, we were pretty good in the third."

Carolina, which has won three of four, is 11th in the Eastern Conference with 75 points, seven behind Montreal.

"You never can say never and obviously the standings don't look like they're in our favor but mathematically we're not out of it and you've got to come to the rink and compete," Ward said. "At the end of the day this is what we get paid to do and you've got to wear that jersey with some pride and compete."

Marc-Andre Bergeron scored his first goal since Dec. 31 on a power play in the first as the Canadiens outshot Carolina 12-2 in the opening period, and 35-27 overall.

"We had so many scoring chances but we didn't score," center Tomas Plekanec said. "It should have been 2-0 or 3-0, and the game would have been completely different. After that we started pushing it, and it doesn't happen when you're pushing and pressing things.

Price stopped 25 shots for Montreal, 1-3-2 after its season-high six-game winning streak. The Canadiens are in a three-way tie for sixth in the East with Philadelphia and Boston with 82 points, just two points ahead of ninth-place Atlanta.

"We were ready to play, we all knew the importance of this game going into it," Price said. "For the majority of the game we played really well. We carried the game, we just didn't get rewarded for it."

Veteran referee Kerry Fraser called his final regular-season game in Montreal, though it was his partner, Dean Morton, who was front and center on a pair of significant rulings.

Morton immediately waved off an apparent goal by Carolina's Sergei Samsonov 5:58 in after former Canadiens right wing Tom Kostopoulos bowled over Price.

Kostopoulos was sent off for goalie interference on the play and Montreal found itself with a 5-on-3 advantage for 40 seconds when Hurricanes defenseman Jay Harrison was called for hooking Brian Gionta on a partial breakaway that Ward thwarted with a sprawling stop at 7:18.

Carolina killed off the rest of Kostopoulos' penalty before Bergeron drove a slap shot from the point past Ward for his 11th goal at 8:04.

Sutter got credit for drawing the Hurricanes even 3:44 into the second. Morton initially waved off the goal but a video review overturned his ruling. Price stopped Sutter's initial shot - Carolina's third of the game - but Canadiens defenseman Roman Hamrlik slid into the rebound and pushed the puck across the goal line before the net was dislodged.

"Hammer was just doing what he needed to do, he was trying to help me out," Price said. "I make a save and it just happens."

NOTES: Canadian Olympic medalists Alexandre Bilodeau and Jennifer Heil were greeted by standing ovations when they were introduced before the game. Bilodeau won Canada's first Olympic gold medal on home soil when he claimed the men's moguls title in Vancouver. Heil was second in the women's moguls after claiming gold in the event four years earlier in Turin. ... Canadiens RW Sergei Kostitsyn left the game after his first shift of the second period because of a lower-body injury. He did not return.

Total Mileage: 685 Miles

Total Miles Travelled:
210,986 Miles!

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