Since the Canadiens beat the Bruins in that home and home series on the 27th and 29th of October the defending Stanley Cup champions are 19-2-1.  Among the nineteen wins are two one-goal games against the Canadiens 1-0 at the Bell Centre November 21st and 3-2 in this game.  In both games, the Canadiens outshot the Bruins and in both games, the goaltenders Tim Thomas and Carey Price earned game stars.

Adding It Up

…..The Sad Fact –   The Canadiens, with their third loss in a row, fall a game below .500 again and into twelfth place in the Eastern Conference.  Among the five teams they still have to face on the current road trip, only Tampa is behind them in the standings.

…….The First Mistake  – With the game tied at 1-1 P.K. Subban tried one those between the legs passes but failed to get enough juice on  Ference intercepted and fed it in front where it bounced off David Krejci’s skate past Price making it 2-1.

……Mistake Number Two –  Tomas Kaberle fed a pass to Travis Moen who was stripped of the puck by Patrice Bergeron on his way out of his own end.  Brad Marchand then ate up defenseman Chris Campoli and scored the eventual game winner one-on-one against Price.

Haven’t Seen This Before – In the third period trailing 2-1 , instead of sticking to the all-defensive counter-punching style we learned to love/hate under  Jacques Martin, the Canadiens opened the game up leaving it up to Carey Price to man the fort.  Nine minutes into the period the shots on goal were 9-1 in the Canadiens’ favour.  It didn’t work out in the end, but it was nice to see the push-back.  And of course there was that late Canadiens goal that made the final 1:14 interesting.

……”Mr. Everything” – Tomas Plekanec didn’t miss a trick.  20:55 ice time; tops among the forwards as usual.  3:20 killing penalties, 1:56 on the power play.  Four shots and his seventh goal of the season.  Also three hits.   As remarkable,  was his night in the faceoff circle.  At 12 for 20 he was 60%,  But noticable was the defensive zone statistic;  five of six wins in his own end.  That’s 83% against four different Bruins centremen.

Just Doing Their Job – For a fourth line  Nokelainen,Darche and Blunden got a lot of ice time.  And well they should.  They did what was expected of them better than any other group on the night.  These are three big guys and they used their size extremely well.  They totaled nine hits,  Five from Darche and two each from Nokelainen and Blunden.  And the big bonus, six shots on goal, two from each of them.  The 6’4″ Blunden apparently learned something in his earlier eight game stint, he’s used the lesson well in this opportunity especially when his line was out there against Shawn Thornton and company.   Nokelainen was asked to take key neutral and defensive zone faceoffs against the usually difficult Patrice Bergeron and was 4-for-4.  He finished the night six for eight for 75%.   Not once did he take an offensive zone draw. But then again like Darche and Blunden that wasn’t part of their job description.

Third Line Becomes Number Four – Cunneyworth saw something in Lars Eller’s game he didn’t like.  His line wound up getting fourth billing behind Nokelainen.  Eller got only 14 shifts and linemates Louis Leblanc and Andrei Kostitsyn was used 13 and 11 times, respectively.  they were barely used in the third period.  I can understand Eller and Leblanc.  Leaving Kostitsyn on the bench as well when Cunneyworth’s team was trailing may speak volumesl.

……Should We Be Surprised? – Defenseman Rafael Diaz had a solid night.  He logged the second most ice time of any member of the Canadiens (behind Josh Gorges).  He played all but the final two shifts of the first period with Hal Gill and then moved over to play with Gorges with Subban switching to Gill.  Diaz put in 1:29 on the power play and 1:55 killing penalties.  For his effort he came away with a mostly mistake-free plus-one rating.

Two-and-One-Half Men  – The Desharanais/Pacioretty/Cole line had an all right night, but only that.  They did however come up with one of their trade-mark goals.    With just over a minute left Pacioretty checked the puck away on the boards and threw it to Desharnais who put in front where Cole outmuscled Zdeno Chara for the goal.  Two wingers using their size with the playmaker in the middle.  Thirteen goals for Cole now.  Other than that, Pacioretty was the best part of the line with three solid scoring chances.  A rarety for him, Cole was open only once all night and that was the goal.  He was hurt when he took a borderline hit from Dennis Seidenberg in the seventh minute of the first period.  It may have affected his usually agressive game.

Worth Noting – Michael Cammalleri had another one of his busy nights.  He had a team leading five shots.  But Cammalleri  just can’t make things pay off.   His assist  was more luck than good management.  On a two-on-one he mishandled the Plekanec pass but somehow it came back to Plekanec for the goal.  I’m wondering if we’re seeing a echo of the Scott Gomez we saw last season.    ……David Desharnais had an awful night in the faceoff circle winning only 2 of 17 including 0-for-6 against Chris Kelly and 0-for-4 against Patrice Bergeron.  ….I don’t know what to think of Chris Campoli.  He has his moments offensively but defensively he reminds me more of Marc Andre Bergeron than Josh Gorges.   Yet, he plays and Alexei Emelin sits.   Could it be the Canadiens are showcasing him?  They had two defensemen, Emelin and Weber in the press box for this game. ……P.K. Subban was minus-2 in the game and was directly responsible for the Bruins go-ahead goal.  Reports are he was trying to play through illness,  which may account for the move from the Gorges pairing to Hal Gill late in the first period.  Sick, or not, Subban still put in 20:23.

From the Scoresheet –     Ice Time Defense – Josh Gorges 23:22; Raphael Diaz 21:28.      Ice Time Forward – Tomas Plekanec 20:55.   Shots on Goal – Michael Cammalleri 5, Tomas Plekanec 4;       Hits-Mathieu Darche-5;      Blocked Shots – Hal Gill 3;      Faceoffs Won/Lost – Petteri Nokelainen 6/2-75%; Tomas Plekanec  12/8 – 60%.

Moving On – To Chicago Wednesday at 7.30 Eastern time followed by Thursday at Winnipeg starting at 8:35.  Then home for Christmas before Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Florida.