Home Game Day Recap Recap – Canadiens vs Blues: Ninth Straight Road Win for Price, New...

Recap – Canadiens vs Blues: Ninth Straight Road Win for Price, New Habs Record

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(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game 60, Away Game 28 | Tuesday February 24, 2015
Scotttrade Center, St. Louis, MO.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

5-2

BLUES
St. Louis

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/NHLI via Getty Images)

 

 

Lineup scratches: Mike Weaver, Devante Smith-Pelly
Injured reserve: P.A. Parenteau (concussion symptoms), Sergei Gonchar (upper-body), Alexei Emelin (upper-body)

Game Notes:

Quick! They are a top-5 team in the NHL who have been struggling to score goals recently, especially in the first period.  Who are they?  While it sounds like the Canadiens, the description also fits the St. Louis Blues these days. The Blues have given up the first goal in each of their past eight home games.  And they have only scored one goal in the first period of their past seven home games.

The Canadiens took advantage of the slow St. Louis start and the return of Alex Galchenyuk to the lineup.  Galchenyuk had two goals and an assist playing for the first time on the right side with Tomas Plekanec and Lars Eller. The trio was the Canadiens best posting a combined plus-8.

With Galchenyuk getting his second goal of the night — on a softie yielded by Jake Allen, likely distratced by Eller’s presence near the crease — the Blues were forced to play catch-up.  From about the eight minute mark of the second period and throughout the third, St. Louis dominated possession. But Carey Price was there playing another brilliant game with 27 saves. In particular, his saves on Paul Stasny and Vladimir Tarasenko were spectacular.  Nine consecutive road wins is now a Canadiens franchise record owned by Price.

With the Blues taking chances in the offensive zone they took penalties and gave up odd man rushes.  As Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said, “It wears on you throughout a game, playing from behind.” The Canadiens capitalized and led 4-2 after the second period. It was only the second time all season (first was October 16th) that the Habs have scored four goals in the first 40 minutes.

It was interesting to watch players who gave a little extra in this game. With newly-acquired Devante Smith-Pelly on the way, Brandon Prust and Dale Weise seemed to have a jump in their step.  Michael Bournival scored his first goal in 19 games.  Any one of them could be impacted by Smith-Pelly’s arrival.  Christian Thomas is the most likely to be displaced.

Let’s keep in mind that Sergei Gonchar is along for the road trip and will likely play in Columbus. Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn played just under 12 minutes each, with the type of performances indicating that they don’t want to come out of the lineup.  Pateryn is the logical choice.

Plus / Minus

▲     Carey Price, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller, Andrei Markov, Nathan Beaulieu

▼     Christian Thomas

 Statistics
CANADIENS BLUES
23 Shots 29
1 for 2 Power Play 0 for 2
58% Face-offs 42%
6 Penalty Mins 6
17 Hits 27
37 Fenwick For 46
46 Corsi For 61
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens  (39-16-5) 1 3 1 5
 Blues (38-18-4) 0 2 0 2
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL:  Galchenyuk (17), Galchenyuk (18), Gallagher (16), Bournival (3), Gallagher (17)
  • STL:  Backes (20), Oshie (17)
  • MTL: Price (W) 34-11-3
  • STL: Allen (L) 17-6-2
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1.  Alex Galchenyuk  MTL
  2.  Brendan Gallagher  MTL
  3.  David Backes  STL

 Video Highlights

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
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  • “[Carey Price] is phenomenal. We play with a lot of confidence when he’s there. He’s a special player. There’s not many special players in the NHL, but he’s one of them.”

Carey Price

  • On his ninth consecutive road win to set a franchise record: “It’s pretty neat. I think that speaks volumes of the character of our team and the way that we compete on the road. We’re a very confident team when we go into an opposing team’s building and we wind up playing the right way, and we’ve been rewarded for it.”

Alex Galchenyuk

  • “The first couple of shifts, I knew it was going to be kind of tough for me to get out there and get my wind. You obviously want to score as much as you can, and it’s a nice feeling, but you try not to think about that too much.”
  • “To be honest with you, I needed the first couple of shifts to get used to playing on the right side, especially in the defensive zone, maybe not so much in the offensive and neutral zones. It’s pretty much the same, but you’re on a different side in the defensive zone. Going from forehand to backhand took some time, but it went well.”
  • “We tried a set play on that second goal. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn’t. Pleky and I talked about it right before we jumped on the ice.  He told me to jump on those pucks more and be quicker. That’s what I did, and luckily enough I was able to get the shot through.”
  • Carey (Price) does still impress us. It’s just amazing the way he’s playing this year. In my mind, he’s the best goalie in the league.  The stats show that. You just have to look at how calm he is in goal. We have such great confidence in him and we enjoy playing for him, for sure.”

St. Louis Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock

  • “It’s not the traffic (in front of Carey Price we have to worry about). It’s anything that you funnel (towards the net) — which is good (strategy) for most goalies — he pushes perfectly to his exit strategy. So [the Canadiens] use shots on goal, with him, as an exit strategy. Only goalie in the league you do that against (steering clear of him).”
  • “What we’re doing is not paying any respect to checking. We’re not paying any respect to defense, to managing the puck, to managing the proper way to playing. I don’t care what the shots on goal are. When you give up as many odd-man rushes as we gave up in the last two games, we’re showing no respect for what matters in the National Hockey League at this time.”
  • “And in the offensive zone, the sense of urgency that we’re not playing with, that we’ve played with all year, is not there. That’s why we don’t score, that’s why we don’t get second and third chances, that’s why we don’t win the front-of-the-net battles. Those combinations are lethal the wrong way.”
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