I have to admit that I’m more than a little nervous about tonight’s game against the Devils. New Jersey will be looking for a much better effort than last week and you can be sure that Martin Brodeur won’t want to lose twice in a row to ‘the new kid’. For the Canadiens, this is the first game back home after a long West coast road trip…always a difficult transition.
The Habs notched two wins on the road but I really didn’t like the way they were playing, especially in the defensive zone. The Canadiens were giving up an average of 38 shots per game. Full credit to Price and Halak who were solid and, at times, spectacular. The defensive corps will welcome back Ryan O’Byrne tonight. His physical play and ability to clear the zone were sorely missed the past two games. Grabovski, who looked very good on the #1 line in Anaheim will once again center Kovalev and AK. The 3rd and 4th lines really need to up their play whether it is to provide energy, physical play or a shutdown role. They have to be more than a timeout until the top two lines get back on the ice.
Montreal vs. Anaheim game comments:
Prior to the game, Brunet was praising Latendresse and Brisebois for their improved play. This followed RDS picking Latendresse as the 3rd star against L.A. Good grief on both accounts! Latendresse’s goal had more to do with slow footspeed than coming late strategically. Brisebois goal was offset when he stopped playing to whine to the referee and allowed Kopitar to score. Still batting 1.000 when it comes to disagreeing with Brunet.
Weird bounce gives Anaheim a fluky goal and a very early 1-0 lead. Not a good start.
Grabovski with speed and determination tracks down the puck, and with defenders, threads a beautiful pass to Kovalev to tie the game 1-1.
Getzlaf has a great shot and makes it tricky for the goaltender when he draws it in just before releasing it. Price is solid on each attempt. Question though: why is Getzlaf always open? Carbo, who was a great shadow, better designate someone.
Continue to be impressed by Grabovski: great passes in traffic and good determination to clear the defensive zone. How about that speed? He fits in beautifully with the two AK’s. Grabovski is not Plekanec though as he struggles with faceoffs.
Habs outshot 14-5 in the first. Price was outstanding especially on Marchant in all alone.
A penalty filled second period for the Canadiens. Price is spectacular on the Anaheim 5 on 3. Habs outshot 16-7.
After two periods it is the defending Stanley Cup champs vs. Carey Price with the game tied at one. Maybe the rest of the Habs will show up in the third.
Speaking of faceoffs: brutal! In the 3rd period, Carbo replaces Grabovski with Lapierre for the defensive zone faceoffs. Max goes on to lose every one!
Latendresse leads a 3 on 2 and dumps it in. What was he thinking??
Bobby Ryan is no Sidney (picked 2nd overall behind Crosby in 2005) but he is going to be a terrific hockey player.
Anaheim up 2-1. Price had no chance. A terrible shift for Lapierre. Max lost the draw and then lost his check too as Kunitz scored on a one-timer. Brisebois is no match for Getzlaf who made a great pass.
A shorthanded goal on a 2 on 1 by Paulsson gives Anaheim a 3-1 lead with less than 7 minutes left. Nice pass Niedermayer.
This was a really strange game with a few unlikely statistics:
Anaheim was more disciplined than Montreal.
Montreal, ranked 26th on the PK, didn’t give up a power play goal on 8 Duck chances.
Canadiens gave up a shorthanded goal, only their third of the season.
Rocket’s 3 Stars:
1. Ryan Getzlaf
2. Carey Price
3. Scott Niedermayer