Recap – Stars vs Canadiens: Another Hart-Worthy Performance by Price

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(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game 46, Home Game 23 | Tuesday January 27, 2015
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

3-2

STARS
Dallas

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
Lineup scratches: Mike Weaver

Game Notes:

Game plan Price. This season the Canadiens won seven of their first eight games getting off to their best start in 53 years. The reason was Carey Price with many pundits assuring fans that the rest of the team would soon match his pace. It didn’t happen. After game 46, it’s clear that it has become part of the game plan. The Canadiens will be outshot, outchanced, outhit and outplayed each game and Price will save their bacon. Without a doubt, the team MVP has saved the coach’s job.  Post-game, Michel Therrien was unapologetic that Price is the Canadiens best player.

It is a strategy that can’t be sustainable but through more than a half season Therrien and Marc Bergevin don’t seem to be willing to change it.

Back to work.  Having just returned from All-Star weekend, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury was given the night off with his Penguins facing the Jets. Not so for Carey Price who had to endure flight delays on his return to Montreal.  Some of Price’s teammates had spent time in the sun during the break recharging their batteries for the second half of the season. Yet it was Price who was the sharpest and freshest of the Canadiens making 40 saves to win his 11th game in the last 14 starts.

Emelin tossed. He was beaming when he scored the game’s opening goal, a shot that careemed off two Stars players before getting by Kari Lehtonen.  Alex Emelin also made a key block to save a goal with the Stars pinning the Habs in their own zone.  The much-maligned defenseman was plus-2 and having a good game when he was ejected for hitting Jason Spezza from behind early in the second period.  Emelin shoved Spezza as he was turning sending the Stars forward face first into the boards.  The call on the ice was unfortunate but the right one.  The hit likely won’t merit any supplementary discipline from the NHL.

Defense ‘r Us.  With Emelin out of the game early and Nathan Beaulieu and Tom Gilbert looking lost, the defensive burden fell to Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban. Markov played almost 26 minutes, more than five minutes on the penalty-kill blocking four shots.  Subban played just over 29 minutes with 13 of that coming in the third period.

Coach’s choice. It wasn’t a mistake claimed the coach. Michel Therrien had exactly the personnel out there that he wanted when Brendan Gallagher lost a draw allowing the Stars to score with just 2.7 seconds left in the first period.  Manny Malhotra had been tossed out of the faceoff circle.

Plus / Minus

▲▲  Carey Price

▲    Andrei Markov, Brendan Gallagher, Alexei Emelin, P.K. Subban, Sergei Gonchar

▼    Nathan Beaulieu, Tom Gilbert, Dale Weise, Max Pacioretty, Michael Bournival

 Statistics
CANADIENS STARS
27 Shots 42
1 for 5 Power Play 1 for 5
54% Face-offs 46%
23 Penalty Mins 10
19 Hits 21
34 Fenwick For 58
46 Corsi For 79
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens  (30-13-3) 2 1 0 3
 Stars (21-19-7) 1 1 0 2
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL:  Emelin (2), Galchenyuk (13), Gallagher (12)
  • DAL:  Benn (14), Eaves (4)
  • MTL: Price (W) 25-10-2
  • DAL: Lehtonen (L) 19-11-7
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1.  Carey Price  MTL
  2.  Jamie Benn  DAL
  3.  Andrei Markov  MTL

 Video Highlights

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
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  • “We are very aware that we have a very good goalie, and we’re very happy that he plays for us.”
  • “Carey (Price) was solid for us again. We still scored three goals, which is a good sign, but you could tell it was the first game after a five-day break. Our execution wasn’t there. At times, our concentration wasn’t there, either.”
  • “It happened very fast. [Jason Spezza] changed direction and [Alexei Emelin] pushed him, and when he pushed him, Spezza changed directions. Yes, it was the right call under the circumstances, but I don’t expect a suspension.”
  • “Second-guessing is the easiest thing to do in the world. We went with Manny (Malhotra), he’s the best faceoff guy in the League, and we wanted to make sure we have two guys who will sacrifice their body to block the shot, and in the meantime we have a guy like Gallagher who is taking faceoffs on his strong side.”

Carey Price

  • “You know, I just take it, it’s a cliche, just one shot at a time, just worry about the next one that’s coming at me and just try and keep it simple.”

P.K. Subban

  • “Carey (Price) was great. I’ve said it before, but he’s doing exactly what we need him to do every night and that’s stop the puck. It seems that even when he shouldn’t be making the saves, he makes them.”

Brendan Gallagher

  • “[Carey Price] was what I guess we’ve come to expect; he was unreal. Save after save, and there were a lot of times where it looked like they had pretty open nets and they were getting some pretty good chances, and he was there to bail us out. I know it was the first game back from a long break but I think we need to clean up a lot of stuff around the net.”
  • “We gave up too many prime scoring chances, and against a lot of guys like that we can’t rely on [Carey Price] that much, but we had him [Tuesday], we’re pretty fortunate, and we found a way to score one more goal in the end and we came away with two points.”

Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen

  • “It’s tough. The last two games have gone the same way, the other goalie has stolen the show, and it’s frustrating, but it’s easy always to tell yourself that we’re playing better, we should have won these two, but when you don’t, it’s tough.”

Stars coach Lindy Ruff

  • “I thought as a team we really skated well. I don’t know if we maybe had more than three or four even-strength shifts that we spend any time in our end, anything more than five or 10 seconds, and in this building that’s pretty good.”
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