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GAME #82 – A MAGICAL SEASON FINALE – Canadiens-6 Toronto-5 (Shootout) April 6, 2019

It was a game in which neither team had anything to gain or lose. It turned out to be something very special.Two weeks from his college team being eliminated in the NCAA playoffs, 2017 first round draft choice Ryan Poehling played not only his first NHL game, but his first game as a professional. It was something to behold.With the Canadiens trailing 2-0 midway through the first period, Poehling fearlessly drove to the crease and somehow managed to force a pass out from Jordan Weal past Federik Andersen. It was challenged of course. That’s what what Mike Babcock does. First NHL goal on his first shot on goal and it brought the Bell Centre house down.

Canadiens

GAME #80 – GAME OF THE YEAR – Canadiens-4 Tampa Bay-2 (April 2, 2019)

Talk about saving your best for last. It was the Canadiens most complete game of the year during their most important stretch of games of the year.Granted, with the playoffs looming the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t have their eye on the prize Tuesday night, but they weren’t so much off their game as to subject to the kind domination the Canadiens presented. There was no area of the ice that the Canadiens didn’t excel. They controlled two-thirds of the game’s puck possession while outshooting Tampa 45-24. It actual shooting attempts it was 92-52 against the NHL’s best offensive machine.

GAME #79 – STAYIN’ ALIVE – Canadiens-3 Winnipeg-1 (March 30, 2019)

After Saturday night’s game in Winnipeg you ask yourself why the Canadiens couldn’t have played as well against Columbus as they did against the Jets. A better question might be why Winnipeg could play so badly considering their tentative hold on first place in the Central Division. But for a brief stretch after the Jets made it a one-goal game with eight minutes remaining, the Canadiens had total ownership of a team that is vastly more talented than they are. That said, when the Canadiens are skating and implementing Claude Julien’s stifling defensive game to it’s fullest, they can be very hard to get around. Consider this as one of those ‘perfect road games’ to which we often refer.

GAME #78 – DEATH KNELL – Columbus-6 Canadiens-2 (March 28, 2019)

It is a question that’s been asked around Montreal for the last decade.It goes like this. “Which is better? A small but very fast team or a team with size and speed?” The answer from any NHL coach would be the latter, especially heading into the playoffs, or in the case of Thursday night’s game in Columbus, a game that could decide playoff berth.  You would not be far off in blaming size as the key factor in the Canadiens 6-2 loss.  Size, and a failure to play the game away from the boards, where the Blue Jackets were guaranteed to dominate.  

GAME #77 – STILL IN THE PLAYOFFS – Canadiens-6 Florida-1 (March 26, 2019)

The Canadiens had to win this game. Failing to do so against a Florida Panthers team that had lost all semblance of playing structure would have been a disaster.At this point, the only thing for which the Panthers could be playing at this stage of a lost season is the joy of the game itself. The Canadiens took away the Panthers fun in the first fifteen minutes.While the Panthers are devoid of structure, the opposite is true for the Canadiens at this point. After brief stretch where the Canadiens seemed to lose their form, even without the emotional commitment of Jonathan Drouin, they have returned to what may be their best hockey of the season.

GAME #76 – IMPORTANT POINT GAINED – Carolina-2 Canadiens-1 (Overtime) March 24, 2019

Losing that game in Raleigh Sunday night was disappointing but all things considered this was a pretty good week for the Canadiens. Playing four games in six nights they still pocketed seven of eight points and moved back into the second wild card berth. It’s hard to criticize that.It’s pretty clear the Canadiens paid the price for the week’s heavy work load, noticably in the last half of the first period and then in the third period when they lost their legs.

Hockey-General News

PREVIEW GAME #82 Canadiens @ Toronto (April 7/2018

Fourth of four meetings (Canadiens 0-2-1). @Bell Centre – Oct. 14th Toronto-4 Canadiens-3 (OT). Ended fourteen game Canadiens winning streak over Toronto. Auston Matthews second goal won the game in overtime. Drouin 1 g, 1a. Price allows 4 goals on 22 shots. @Bell Centre Nov. 18th – Toronto-6 Canadiens-0. Matthews with two goals. Niemi replaced Lindgren in third period. Frederik Andersen 33 saves for shutout. @Toronto March 17 Toronto-4 Canadiens-0. Curtis McElhinney 33 saves for shutout. Lindgren faces 49 shots. Nylander, Kapanen, Kadri &Johnsson scored.

….Toronto has outscored the Canadiens 14-3 in the three meetings. Toronto has scored the last 12 goals including 10-0 in the last two games/

….The Canadiens have not scored a goal on Toronto goaltending in 149:15. Back-to-back shutouts by Frederik Andersen and Curtis McElhinney.

….After sweeping the four game series last year the Canadiens are in danger of being swept by Toronto this season. It’s been 25 years since Toronto last swept a season series vs. Montreal -1992-93 which iwathe Canadiens last Stanley Cup season).

PREVIEW GAME #81 – Canadiens @ Detroit (April 5/2018)

Detroit joined the NHL in 1926. This is the first time in the 92 years the Detroit and Montreal have been in league together that both franchises have missed the playoffs in the same season.

….Going into the game the Canadiens have the third worst record in the league and Detroit is sixth-worst.

….The Canadiens are 3-0-0 vs. Detroit this season. In the three games they have outscored the Wings 20-6.

….Fourth of four meetings. @Detroit Nov. 30th Canadiens-6 Detroit-3. Jimmy Howard allows 6 goals on 25 shots. Gallagher 2g, 1a; Pacioretty 1g, 1a; Petry & Danault 2a each. @Bell Centre Dec. 2nd Canadiens-10 Detroit-1. PaulByron 3 goals, Alex Galchenyuk 4 assists. Deslauriers, Carr and de la Rose 1g 2a each. Mrazek 5 goals on 25 shots, Howard 5 goals on 9 shots. @Bell Centre Mar. 26th Canadiens-4 Detroit-2. Gallagher – 29th and 30th goals; Galchenyuk & Byron. Coreau vs. Price.

PREVIEW GAME #80 – Winnipeg @ Canadiens (April 3/2018)

Second of two meetings. @Winnipeg Nov. 4 Canadiens-5 Winnipeg-4 (overtime). Pacioretty with GWG PPG at 3:07 OT. Pacioretty 1g, 2a. Andrew Shaw – 2 goals; The game featured 6 PPG’s – three by each team. Canadiens outshoot Winnipeg 50-23. Montoya vs. Hellebuyck.

….In their last visit to the Bell Centre Feb. 18, 2017 Winnipeg was a 3-1 winner over the Canadiens

….Since the 2012 lockout the Canadiens are 8-4-0 vs. Winnipeg; at the Bell Centre 4-2-0.

….Since 2012 Alex Galchenyuk leads the Canadiens against the Jets with 4g, 5a in ten games. Max Pacioretty has 2g, 6a in 11 games.

…..Vs. the Canadiens Blake Wheeler has 4g, 2a in 12 games since the lockout.

PREVIEW GAME #79 – New Jersey @ Canadiens (April 1/2018)

.Third of three meetings – Dec. 14th @ BellCentre – Canadiens-2 New Jersey -1 (overtime). Plekanec scored at 1:52 of OT. Also Andrew Shaw. Noesen for NJD. Price vs. Schneider. March 6th @ New Jersey Devils-6 Canadiens-4. Travis Zajac – 2 goals; Will Butcher, Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Sami Vatanen 2 assists each. Jacob de la Rose – two goals; Mike Reilly two assists. Lindgren vs. Kincaid.

….Both teams are playing their second game in 24 hours. The Devils beat the Islanders at home Saturday and the Canadiens lost in Pittsburgh.

….Since the lockout the Canadiens have a home record of 6-1-1 vs. New Jersey. Three of the games were decided in overtime – two won by the Canadiens. Including those in overtime, five of the eight games were decided by one goal.

….Home and away since the lockout the canadiens are 11-4-2 vs. New Jersey. Seven of the 17 were decided in OT/Shootout.

PREVIEW GAME #78 Canadiens @ Pittsburgh (March 31/2018)

This is the third and final meeting, all in a span of sixteen days. @Bell Centre March 15th Pittsburgh-5 Canadiens-3. Hornqvist 2 goals, 1 assist. Lehkonen, Byron, Deslauriers for the Canadiens. Niemi allows 4 goals on 38 shots. @Pittsburgh March 21st Pittsburgh-5 Canadiens-3. Jake Guentzel 1g, 2a; Crosby & Evgeni Malkin 1g, 1a each; for Canadiens de la Rose,Scherbak & Drouin. Price s. DeSmith.

….This is the third straight time the Canadiens are catching the Penguins in a back-to-back games situation. On March 15th and 21st it was the second half of the doubleheader. This game will be the first of two in 24 hours. The Penguins are 8-7-2 in the first half this season.

….The Penguins are in position to sweep the season series against the Canadiens for only the second time in their history. They were 3-0 vs. Montreal in 2012-13.

PREVIEW GAME #77 – Detroit @ Canadiens (March 26/2018)

Third of four meetings – @Detroit Nov. 30th Canadiens-6 Detroit-3. Jimmy Howard allows 6 goals on 25 shots. Gallagher 2g, 1a; Pacioretty 1g, 1a; Petry & Danault 0g, 2a, @Bell Centre Dec. 3rd – Canadiens-10 Detroit-1. Paul Byron 3 goals, Alex Galchenyuk 4 assists; Deslauriers, Carr and de la Rose 1g, 2a each. Mrazek 5 goals against on 25 shots; Jimmy Howard 5 on 9 shots.

….In the month of March the Wings are 1-9-2 while the Canadiens are 3-8-2.

….Since the 2012 lockout the Canadiens are 7-0-2 vs. Detroit at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens were 2-2 in the four overtime games.

PREVIEW GAME #76 Washington @ Canadiens (March 24/2018)

.Third of three meetings this season. @ Washington Oct. 7th – Capitals-6 Canadiens-1. Ovechkin with 4 goals including three in first period. Price allows 4 on 14 shots. Montoya finished the game. @Washington Jan. 19th – Canadiens-3 Washington-2. Antti Niemi’s first win for Canadiens. Pacioretty two goals plus Byron.

….The last time the teams met at the Bell Centre was Super Bowl weekend Feb. 4th 2017, a 3-2 Canadiens loss. Price gave up 3 on 30 shots .

….Washington has earned at least a point in 14 consecutive games at the Bell Centre (12-0-2). They last loss in regulation time the Bell Centre was Jan. 10th 2009. Overall they have registered a point in 24 of their last 28 games (19-5-4).

PREVIEW GAME #75 Canadiens @ Buffalo (March 23/2018)

Final of four meetings – Canadiens 3-0-0. @Buffalo Oct.5th (season opener) Canadiens-3 Buffalo-2 (shootout) Pacioretty, Danault & Drouin (shootout winner). Pominville 2 goals. @Bell Centre Nov. 11th Canadiens-2 Buffalo-1 (overtime). Shaw & Pacioretty (overtime winner). O’Reilly for Buffalo. @Bell Centre Nov. 25th Canadiens-3 Buffalo-0. Carey Price’s only shutout win of season 36 saves. Petry, Galchenyuk and Byron (SHG).

….This is the first of back-to-back games for both teams. The Canadiens face Washington at the Bell Centre Saturday night; Buffalo will play at the Rangers Saturday.

….Since Dec. 232nd the Sabres have had a better record than the Canadiens – Buffalo winning 14 of 37 games for 33 points; the Canadiens 10 of 39 for 28 points.

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