Recap – Islanders vs Canadiens: Plekanec Leads Habs With Four Point Night

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(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game 44, Home Game 21 | Saturday January 17, 2015
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

6-4

ISLANDERS
New York

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
Lineup scratches: Tom Gilbert, Carey Price (upper-body)

Game Notes:

The Myth.  Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak is treated like a Greek God in Montreal. But just how much of the legend is mythology? The Islanders are second in the league in shots allowed. So, an exceptionally good defensive team.  New York is also second in the league in shots for and seventh in goals for. Therefore a team that provides very good goal support. Yet, the Islanders are 21st in the league in goals against.  In other words, the Islanders are a team that does most of the heavy lifting for it’s goaltender, Jaro Halak.

And when the team doesn’t bring their A-game, as was the case Saturday night in Montreal, an average goaltender like Halak doesn’t have the talent to carry his team.

The Legend.  So as a team, how do the Canadiens stack up?  Not so well. The Habs are 23rd in the league in shots allowed.  And they rank 26th in the NHL in shots for and 20th in goals for. As we have witnessed, they are porous defensively and have a pop-gun offense.  Carey Price has carried the team to its place in the standings.

Turning up the effort. Without their most valuable player, the Canadiens needed a full team effort to beat the Islanders. The Canadiens used speed and a tenacious forecheck to stymie the Islanders.  Each line made a contribution in its own way with the defense having one of its better games of the season.  And isn’t it remarkable what the Habs power-play is capable of when it has players willing to go to the front of the net.  With Dustin Tokarski giving up four goals in each of his last two starts, the Canadiens had to up their offensive game for the win.

Possession. Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty are becoming a formidable force. Plekanec had two goals and two assists on four shots on goal.  His offensive numbers are even more impressive given that 90 per cent of his even strength starts were in the defensive zone.  Lars Eller and his linemates, Jiri Sekac and Christian Thomas had several dominating possession shifts creating scoring chances throughout the game.  Similar to Plekenec, Eller started 70 per cent of his shifts in the defensive zone (all situations.)  Conversely, coach Therrien favored David Desharnais with starts at the ladies tees, with just 17 per cent coming in the defensive zone.

Plus / Minus

▲    Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, Andrei Markov, Lars Eller, Christian Thomas, Jiri Sekac, Sergei Gonchar, Nathan Beaulieu, Dale Weise

▼    Dustin Tokarski, Michael Bournival

 Statistics
CANADIENS ISLANDERS
35 Shots 31
2 for 4 Power Play 1 for 3
55% Face-offs 45%
11 Penalty Mins 13
21 Hits 42
47 Fenwick For 47
60 Corsi For 70
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens  (28-13-3) 1 2 3 6
 Islanders (30-14-1) 0 2 2 4
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL:  Subban (10), Weise (6), Plekanec (12), Galchenyuk (11), Desharnais (7), Plekanec (13)
  • NYI:  Okposo (14), Kulemin (9), Lee (12), Tavares (20)
  • MTL: Tokarski (W) 5-3-1
  • NYI: Halak (L) 24-9-0, Johnson
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1.  Tomas Plekanec  MTL
  2.  Andrei Markov  MTL
  3.  David Desharnais  MTL

 Video Highlights

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
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  • “It was a great team win tonight, and as a coach, it’s exactly what you want to see from your players. The guys worked hard, we were happy with their effort, and they deserved to win.”

Tomas Plekanec

  • “We have a bunch of different looks. We worked on it a lot lately. It was a big topic, obviously, here for us and we worked a lot on it. We talked with the coaches, the players, and finally we’re getting the looks that we really want to. The big thing for us is the screeners. Every goal we’ve scored lately, there was a [heck] of a job by the guys that were right in front of the goalie and the crease.”
  • “It was obviously a big game for us. They’re a really good team this year – one of the best in the league – and coming off a couple of losses ourselves lately, it was good for us to bounce back with that performance tonight.”

Dale Weise

  • “We’re not a good-starting team, for whatever reason that is. We wanted to focus on that [Saturday]. We want to make this a tough building to play in, and I thought every start to every period we came out and we pushed the tempo.”
  • “Sometimes teams play better on the back-to-back, but we’re a tough team to handle. When four lines are playing that fast, there are not many teams that can skate with us.”

P.K. Subban

  • “I don’t know how many nights it’s going to happen for us where in the first two minutes we score, but I think we focused on the right things. Even though they had some fortunate bounces throughout the game that ended up in our net, I thought we stuck to the plan. In between periods we were focused, guys were talking. We knew we would have to play a full 60 minutes to win this game, and I thought we did.”
  • “We knew with a team that’s played a lot of hockey of late, we had to jump on them early. If you look at the Ottawa game, that’s what they did to us. They knew we had played the night before and they wanted to get on us early. That’s what we did tonight.”

Islanders coach Jack Capuano

  • “We mismanaged the puck. I talked about 17 giveaways after two periods; you’re not going to win many hockey games like that, especially (against) a quick team like that that comes in transition with the defense that they have, you know, you’ve got to make it a 200-foot game. We made it a short track for them tonight. We made it a half-court game and you’re not going to win like that.”
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