December 2, 2001
Audette rushed to hospital with a savage cut, while Bulis bruises
thigh in loss to Rangers; Rangers 3 Canadiens 1
By RED FISHER
DAVE SIDAWAY, GAZETTE
Roll these names on your tongue: Donald Audette ... Jan Bulis ... Joe
Juneau. Mark 'em down and then forget about them for a good long
time - starting with Audette.
Audette, who assisted on the Canadiens' only goal in their 3-1 loss
to the New York Rangers last night, is the most seriously injured -
and by far. He was rushed to hospital with a savage cut on his left
wrist after attempting to stop a breakaway by Rangers left-winger
Radek Dvorak with only 6:38 remaining.
How bad was it?
"There was blood spurting all over the place," Brian Savage said.
"They're talking tendon damage," added Jose Theodore, who watched his
opposite number, 18-year-old Dan Blackburn, stop 45 shots on this
If that's the case, there's no real way of knowing how long Audette
will be out. But with Bulis coming out of last night's game with a
severely bruised thigh when he was kneed by Rangers defenceman Thomas
Klousek, and with Juneau out with a sprained medial collateral
ligament in his left knee that will keep him out for at least three
weeks and probably longer - well ... does this latest flood of
injuries sound familiar to you?
"Seems to me we've been through something like this before, haven't
we?" Savage said with a sigh. "When does it stop?"
A different form of stops was what last night's game was all about,
and the outcome wasn't decided until Mike York scored his second goal
of the night into an empty net with 31 seconds remaining. The first
10 minutes of this dance belonged to the Rangers, starting with Zdeno
Ciger's goal in the sixth minute.
Yanic Perreault scored shortly beyond the midway point of the second
period, only to have York score what proved to be the winner 68
Everything else belonged to Blackburn, who last year at this time was
stopping pucks for the Kootenay Ice of the Western Hockey League.
Blackburn's first NHL win also was against the Canadiens, when he
stopped 22 shots in a 2-1 win at the Molson Centre. He made 20 stops
in last night's second period alone.
"Does he play that way only against us?" asked Perreault, who scored
on one of his five shots in the second period. "I remember he played
well against us in that first game, but I thought tonight he was a
lot more confident about what he was doing.
"He made the first stop on me, you know," said Perreault. "I had to
give him a tap on the glove before the puck went in. I think it was
on the top of the glove."
Blackburn also drew praise from Theodore, who faced only 28 Rangers
"You see an 18-year-old making NHL stops the way he did, and well ...
you can't play any better than that," said Theodore.
"He was awesome," said Jeff Hackett.
"Only 18?" asked Jean Beliveau. "Are you sure? I was talking with
somebody in New York," added Beliveau, "and he was telling me the
Rangers had a hot goaltender. I assumed he was talking about (Mike)
Richter, and he probably was. But this kid tonight ..."
Ten minutes into this one, and with the Canadiens trailing 1-0 on the
Ciger goal, Saku Koivu already was aware that his colleagues were in
for a hard time.
"They're playing a good team tonight," he grunted. And so they were,
the Rangers outshooting the Canadiens 6-1 in the first 10 minutes,
including Ciger's goal, a couple of hair-raising Theodore stops as
well as several near-misses by the Rangers. As it developed, however,
it was left to this 18-year-old goaltender to win this one for the
Rangers in a game the Canadiens should have won. Instead, the loss
brought to an end a six-game unbeaten streak.
The Canadiens struggled in the first period, but the reality is they
tossed away a number of grand opportunities in the second and third
periods. Such as the time early in the second when Rangers defenceman
Klousek was properly assessed a major and game misconduct for his
knee-on-thigh hit on Bulis at centre ice. (The officiating team
missed one in the first period, however, when they neglected to give
Patrice Brisebois a penalty for knocking his net off its pegs a
couple of seconds before the puck entered it.)
Anyway, you haven't been doing much offensively and you've got a five-
minute manpower advantage. Great stuff, eh? Time to go for it, right?
The Rangers outshot the Canadiens 3-0. Go figure.