The Canadiens have been called a lot of names this year. Add the word “spoiler”. The have their pride and Lottery Draft or not, they’re not lying down for anyone, even if they don’t have firepower to dominate a game any more. They were true road warriors in this game, taking a more talented Ottawa lineup right to the wall before falling in the overtime period.
Adding It Up –
The First Star – Josh Gorges outdid himself. Already the NHL runaway leader in blocked shots, Gorges added ten more to his resume, two short of the league’s single game record of 12. The Senators took 79 shots in this game, 24 of them were blocked before they got to Carey Price. Add to that the six hits Gorges recorded and you have to know he had a long post-game stint in the whirlpool. Gorges now has blocked 212 shots, 41 more than Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin who holds down second place.
…..Man Alone – Flanked by wingers who are not demonstrating top-six talent, Tomas Plekanec put in a super human game. He logged 27:28. The Canadiens were shorthanded nine times for 16:27 and Plekanec was on the ice for all but 4:40 including 1:33 of 5-on-4. The only Canadiens goal was shorthanded. In those very important defensive zone faceoffs, Plekanec won 10 of 17 and 8 of 12 overall against Jason Spezza, who normally excels in that department.
…….Dead Calm – Carey Price is back in one of his zones. When Price plays like this, he looks like he could play his position in a rocking chair. Two thirds of this game was played in the Canadiens end of the ice. He had no chance on either goal and the only time he seemed in read trouble, Yannick Weber saved him when he made a soft pass from outside of his crease late in the second period.
………….Unemployed – Because the Canadiens played a quarter of the game shorthaned, the Desharnais line managed only 13 minutes of sporadic ice time together. They managed only four shots and two scoring chances, far removed from the nine scoring chances they generated against the Senators Wednesday.
…..On Top Again – Going nine-for-nine on the penalty kill moved the Canadiens from third to numbr one in the league once again. The Penalty killing units for the most part were Plekanec and White plus Gorges and Subban followed by Eller and Bourque with Emelin and Weber.
……Rough Night – Frederic St. Denis, playing his second game since the Wednesday morning callup, could be faulted for both goals. He pinched at the Ottawa line allowing Zach Smith and Colin Greening to break free. Smith fed the puck right through Campoli’s legs to tie the game. In overtime, St. Denis failed to take Daniel Alfredsson out at his own line and Alfredsson then set up Filip Kuba for the winner. Other than the two mistakes, St. Denis was pretty good which can only be termed faint praise.
……Young Guns -This was being billed as a battle between two of the best young defensemen in the league, Erik Karlson and P.K. Subban. Neither disappointed. Subban led the Canadiens in ice time again and had a running feud with the Senators Colin Greening that led to a fight at one point. Karlsson picked up an assist and should have been credited with another on the Senators first goal.
……Worth Mentioning – …..Without the playmaking skills of Andrei Markov and Tomas Kaberle the Canadiens power play was 0-for-4. The excuse was upper body injuries, which most considered a crock. Watch for the two of them to be back in the lineup Saturday against the Islanders. ……..Michael Blunden came off the injury list and shared the team lead in hits with 6 in only 12 shifts……..Alexei Emelin, who missed Thursday night’s game, was back and paired with Yannick Weber. He blocked a Karlsson shot high off the back of his rib cage early in the second period and missed a couple of shifts but was back before the period ended. ……..The coach calling out Rene Bourque at practice Thursday didn’t do a bit of good. Another inconsequential night for the Plekanec left winger.
The Draft Lottery Race – Overall Standings Updated
22nd – Tampa Bay 71 pts. 11 games remaining
23rd – Anaheim 71 pts. 10 remaining
24th – Toronto 70 pts. 11 remaining
25th – Carolina 69 11
26th – Minnesota 68 12
27th – Canadiens 68 pts. 10 remaining
28th – NY Islanders 67 11
29th – Edmonton 63 10
30th – Columbus 51 12
Next Up – One of those four-point Lottery Draft Games – The Canadiens vs. the Islanders 27th vs. 28th in the overall league standings. Saturday night at the Bell Centre – 7:15 gametime.