The Canadiens once again showed their resilience by bouncing back from Wednesday’s terrible outing against the Philadelphia Flyers to defeat the Winniopeg Jets 4-1 at the Bell Centre. After being partly responsible for the game’s opening goal from Alex Burmistrov, Michael Ryder came back with two straight goals to start the Canadiens on their way. Ryder also assisted on the Canadiens fourth goal. Brian Gionta also scored for the Canadiens. The win left the Canadiens in first place in the Northeast division and paves the way for the game Saturday night against Boston. The loss for Winnipeg, their fifth in a row, combined with the Washington Capitals 2-1 shootout win against the Islanders sent them from third all the way down to tenth place in the Eastern Conference.
Adding It Up –
Resiliency – Once again the Canadiens have come back from a bad loss to win. Only twice this season has a losing streak gone beyond a single game. The Canadiens also won the second game of back-to-back nights six times in a row. They have only one of those remaining this season.
Where He Belongs – It is rightly assumed that Alex Galchenyuk will eventually be the Canadiens number one centre. The Canadiens coaching staff has been easing him into the NHL by using him as a winger. With Tomas Plekanec out with that groin problem, Michel Therrien put between Michael Ryder and Travis Moen. He responded by ending an 18 game goalscoring drought and giving us a highlight reel pass to himself through his legs that resulted in a big scoring chance. When Plekanec comes back, Galchenyuk will be back on the wing, but we once again saw the future of the franchise for a few minutes Thursday.
What He Does Best – When the Canadiens traded for Michael Ryder they knew they were getting a pure goalscorer who defensively can be a train wreck. It was all on display against Winnipeg. Ryder let his check go and Alexander Burmistrov was all alone to score the first goal of the game. Two and a half minutes later Ryder tied the game on a power play rebound and early in the second period he was there for another rebound for what turned out to be the game winner. He also assisted on the Galchenyuk goal. In 17 Montreal games he has 9 goals and 8 assists, and defensive liability or not, he’s still plus-4.
Win, Win!! Since he took over the Canadiens Marc Bergevin has made two trades on the NHL level. He picked up Ryder for Erik Cole and near the trade deadline he got Davis Drewiske from the LA Kings for a 5th rounder. Drewiske couldn’t pay his way into a game in Los Angeles most nights. Against the Jets Michel Therrien had already seen enough that he played him 17:26 including almost 3 minutes on the penalty kill. It may be a little early but off two games it looks like another win for Bergevin.
Overworked? P.K. Subban has logged a lot of ice time since he joined the Canadiens in the seventh game of the season and he looked tired early in this game. But, even on an off night he has enough juice to earn him a game star. Subban looked completely out of sorts through out the night but still managed to pick up two more points which put him in the lead for points among defensemen. And he wound up with third star. Eventually people outside of Montreal are going to have to include him on their list of Norris Trophy candidates.
Tale of Two Nights – For the second straight night the Canadiens were outshot badly in the third period. The difference between the Flyers 14 third period shots and the 17 the Jets took was net presence. The Flyers owned the front of the net Wednesday night and scored three unanswered goals. The majority of the Jets shots came from the perimeter. Peter Budaj had a good view of almost every one of them.
Family Night – With his father, uncle and brother watching, Budaj gave the Canadiens another solid backup goaltending job. He stopped 33 of 34 shots and got to take a bow as the game’s second star. First time in Budaj’s career he’s won six games in a row.
In Addition – Notable games from Ryan White who was playing in his first game since March 21st. Therrien had him on a wing with Jeff Halpern and Mike Blunden. Lars Eller was very subbing for Plekanec between Gionta and Prust. It was Eller’s shot that went off the inside of Gionta’s thigh for the Canadiens third goal. And I keep wanting to say good things about the way Moen is playing right now.
The Inevitable – Every time the Bruins play the Canadiens it’s a showdown. The Bruins come tro Montreal Saturday night and first place in the Northeast Division is on the table. The Bruins edged the Devils 1-0 Thursday night to stay a point behind the Habs with a game in hand. Need we say more?