Recap – Canadiens vs Penguins: Habs Beat Pens For 6th Straight Win

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(Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game 39, Away Game 21 | Saturday January 3, 2015
CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

4-1

PENGUINS
Pittsburgh

(Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)
Lineup scratches: Mike Weaver, P.A. Parenteau, Bryan Allen

Game Notes:

Price deserves bouquets.  Following the game, the folks at Hockey Night in Canada surprisingly gave Carey Price his due credit for carrying the Canadiens to first place in the Eastern Conference. Some fans preferred to spread the accolades around. While this is laudable, it is Price who allows his team (yes, his team) the luxury of playing the way they do.  As noted by Arpon Basu, it was Price’s ninth straight start allowing two or fewer goals. During that span, he has an 8-1-0 record and a .953 save percentage.

No flower power for Pens. One need only look at the opposite end of the rink to see what effect a goalie can have on a team.  The Penguins, despite having some of the best offensive players in the game in their lineup, still have an Achilles heel in goal. Marc-Andre Fleury remains one of the most overrated players in the NHL.  Fleury gave up soft goals to Tom Gilbert and David Desharnais in this game.

Score first.  Scoring first works! The Canadiens are now 16-0-0 when scoring the first goal in a game.  Coming into the game, the Penguins had scored 46 first period goals to lead the league while the Canadiens had only scored 12 (in 38 games) ranking them last in the NHL.  The Canadiens are now 6-0-0 when holding a lead after the first period.

3rd line dominates.  Lars Eller and his linemates dominated possession throughout the game. While they weren’t afforded the luxury of a majority of offensive zone starts, they soon got there are stayed there.  Possession time was impressive.  Eller with Brandon Prust and Jiri Sekac started the game but coach Therrien dropped a struggling Sekac in favour of Michael Bournival. The line looked good as well.  We would like to see more of the trio of Eller – Sekac – Bournival.

Kudos to 3rd D pairing. Let’s also compliment the third defensive pairing of Alexei Emelin and Tom Gilbert.  While the pair is much maligned, each scored a goal against the Penguins hits and goal. Emelin was plus-3 with five hits and four blocked shots. Gilbert added an assist to his goal and was plus-4.

Plus / Minus

▲   Carey Price, Lars Eller, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Tom Gilbert, Alexei Emelin

▼    Jiri Sekac, Manny Malhotra, Alex Galchenyuk

 Statistics
CANADIENS PENGUINS
33 Shots 31
0 for 4 Power Play 0 for 1
54% Face-offs 46%
4 Penalty Mins 10
21 Hits 38
43 Fenwick For 45
52 Corsi For 63
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens  (26-11-2) 2 1 1 4
 Penguins (24-10-5) 1 0 0 1
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL:  Pacioretty (16), Desharnais (6), Gilbert (2), Emelin (1)
  • PIT:  Perron (6)
  • MTL: Price (W) 22-9-1
  • PIT: Fleury (L) 20-7-3
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1.  Max Pacioretty  MTL
  2.  Tom Gilbert  MTL
  3.  David Perron  PIT

 Video Highlights

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
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  • “We’re in a position to win five games in a row on the road and our guys showed a lot of energy tonight. They concentrated on the detail of the game and that was a huge challenge. We did a good job.”

Carey Price

  • “Guys are playing good hockey. Everybody’s contributing, everybody’s working, everybody’s doing whatever they need to do to help the team be successful, and it’s really fun to be a part of.”

Tom Gilbert

  • “We knew this was going to be a tough road trip, especially after a bit of a little bit of a break, and to be honest, I think we’ve been playing our best hockey and been doing really good things with the puck. We’ve been keeping it simple, especially on the road here, and that’s been our biggest success, and, obviously, our best players have been our goalies. That’s always huge.”

Penguins coach Mike Johnston

  • “Just on the game, in the first period, I thought we had a good first period. The second period … I thought they stood us up at the line. We didn’t get pucks in behind them. We couldn’t make plays through traffic or make the quick play in the neutral zone to get around people. We didn’t get a lot of support. They did clog it up, but I also thought it was more on our side too, with our execution. I didn’t think our execution was very sharp.”
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To look back at the full lineups for tonight’s game, check the Game Day preview.
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