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GAME #61 – GALLAGHER SCORES THREE – Canadiens-5 Philadelphia-1 (Feb. 21, 2019)

With twelve wins in their previous fifteen games, the Philadelphia Flyers came into Montreal Thursday as one of the NHL’s hottest teams. The Canadiens didn’t give them a chance.

Brendan Gallagher scored his first of his three goals in the first minute. Ninety seconds later Mike Reilly hit a goalpost. Then on their second shot of the game Jesperi Kotkaniemi made it 2-0. Before the first period was over Gallagher had his second goal and the Canadiens had a 3-0 lead that ended with a 5-1 victory..

We’ve often heard the word “resilient” when it comes to describing this year’s Canadiens. This week we had another example of that ability to bounce back

Canadiens

GAME #60 – SLUMP BREAKER – Canadiens-3 Columbus-2 (Feb. 19, 2019)

It was hardly a classic effort but with their 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets the Canadiens at least ended their four game losing streak and gave the Eastern Conference wild card race a shaking up.

The win elevated the Canadiens into the first wild card berth while the Blue Jacket loss, combined with a Pittsburgh win moved the Penguins to third in the Metro division and dropped Columbus to the second wild card spot two points behind the Canadiens At the same time, potential party crashers Carolina, Philadelphia and Buffalo all lost their games.

With twenty-two games remaining, consider this shuffle as a preview of what is likely to be happen on a near-nightly basis surrounding the Canadiens struggle for a playoff berth.

GAME #59 – THE COLLAR TIGHTENS – Florida-6 Canadiens-3 (Feb. 17, 2019)

The Canadiens have hit the skids at the worst possible time.

Their 6-3 loss at Sunrise Florida Sunday night was their 4th in a row and third straight in regulation time during a road trip that saw them outscored 12-4. Only a week ago the Canadiens were in third place in the Atlantic Division and there was discussion of a first round playoff meeting between the Canadiens and Toronto. Since then the Canadiens have fallen to the second wild card berth (eighth in the Eastern Conference) and are now only one point away from being pushed right out of the playoff picture by the Carolina Hurricanes who have won three in a row and eight of their last ten games.

GAME #58 – OVERWHELMED – Tampa Bay-3 Canadiens-0 (Feb. 16, 2019)

There were two things that paving the way to the Canadiens 3-0 loss at Tampa Bay Saturday night.

Just past the game’s mid point Brendan Gallagher set up Bret Kulak for what seemed to be a 1-0 Canadiens lead only to have the goal erased on a coaches challenge that found Jesperi Kotkaniemi a fraction of an inch off-side.

Then in the third period’s first minute of a still goal-less game, as if the league’s best power play needed it, Phillip Danault was handed a phantom two-minute hooking penalty. With that advantage Nikita Kucherov scored what turned out to be the game’s winning goal.

Not that the ultimate result would have been any different but the two events proved to be pivotal. The Lightning scored their second goal 1:25 later and the Canadiens offense disappeared the rest of the night.

GAME #57 – NOT ENOUGH OFFENCE – Nashville-3 Canadiens-1 (Feb. 14, 2019)

It’s always a matter of talent.

Sometimes hard work can overcome a talent deficit. In Nashville it wasn’t to be.

Carey Price kept the Canadiens in the game through a scoreless first period. In the second period they shook off whatever rust they seem to have accumulated in their four days off but couldn’t score on any of their 21 shots and 11 high danger scoring chances.

Two of the Canadiens mistakes wound up in the net; Jonathan Drouin on the first goal and Jordie Benn on the game clincher and Nashville ended a three game losing streak with a 3-1 victory.

GAME #56 – THE RIVALRY ENDURES – Toronto-4 Canadiens-3 (Overtime) Feb. 9, 2019

One thing we’ve learned since early in the New Year: the Canadiens are not an easy out.

Once Montreal fans get over the disappointment of an overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs will be able to look at the bigger picture.

The Canadiens just completed a five game home-stand in which they picked up eight of a possible ten points (3-0-2). And they have taken three of four points in the first two games of arguably their toughest four game stretch of the season, with next week’s games in Nashville and Tampa yet to come.

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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