An “own goal” on Roberto Luongo while the Vancouver Canucks were on a power play broke a 1-1 tie and the Canadiens went on to defeat the Canucks 4-1 Saturday night in Vancouver. Lars Eller was credited with what turned out to be the game winner although there is some doubt whether he was even on the ice when the puck went past Luongo. Along with the Eller shorthanded goal, the Canadiens got power play goals from Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec and Josh Gorges. The Canucks outshot the Canadiens 40-38.
The three stars on the Hockey Night in Canada telecast were Price, Brendan Gallagher and Josh Gorges. Officially they were Price, Jason Garrison (who had ten shots on Price) and Pacioretty.
Adding It Up –
The Goal – It had many wondering if they had ever seen anything like it before. Best I can come up with is Steve Smith’s Game 7 cross-ice pass attempt that banked off Edmonton goaltender Grant Fuhr and into the net that allowed the Calgary Flames to advance to the second round of the 1986 playoffs. (you can see that goal below)
What Happened – The Canadiens were at the tag end of penalty killing shift. The puck was cleared into the Vancouver end by Lars Eller, who then headed for the bench. Travis Moen who had already started his shift made a wave at Luongo who was playing the puck to Garrison in the corner and then faded back into defensive posture. Dan Hamhuis lost it off the skate of Jason Garrison near the goal line to the left of Luongo. Luongo was looking up ice and had his back to play as the puck bounced off both his skates and trickled over the goal line.. Game winner as it turned out..
The Acrobat – If this was an audition for the Olympic goaltending job, Carey Price was a hands-down winner. The Canucks had 31 shots through the first two periods. 21 scoring chances to only ten for the Canadiens. It’s been a while since Price won a game singlehandedly. This was one of those. And a continuation of strong outings this season.
Pacioretty – The Hockey Night in Canada selectors in Vancouver named B.C. residents Price, Gallagher and Gorges the three stars which hardly enhanced their credibility, but outside of Price the game’s best player was Max Pacioretty. He may be playing through a wrist problem, but it didn’t show in this game. Nine shots – five of them on goal. Four strong scoring chances and the opening goal of the game. He also blocked a couple of shots. And his speed got him a penalty shot opportunity which he just missed.
Special Teams – The Canucks went into the game with a 100 percent penalty killing record this season. The two of the Canadiens four goals were on the power play – Pacioretty and Plekanec. Price helped the penalty killers. In the first two Canucks power plays they had nine shots on the Canadiens net.
Shut Them Down – The Canadiens entered the third period leading 2-1 but dominated on the shot clock 31-20. The Therrien system took over. Vancouver didn’t get a shot on goal through the first ten minutes of the third period and didn’t have a meaningful shot until Josh Gorges’ floater beat Luongo at 12.25 of the period.
Some Other Things-
…..I am convinced that roommates Galchenyuk and Gallagher play their own game and it doesn’t matter who is centering their line. Tomas Plekanec did his usual two-way job, but every time I looked it was the two kids doing their own thing offensively. The sooner space opens for Galchenyuk at centre ice, the better.
…..We are beginning to see the inexperience of Jarred Tinordi coming to the fore. The league is catching up to the big guy. On an evening when I watched Greg Pateryn play a dominant role in the Hamilton Bulldogs game against Grand Rapids Saturday night, if injuries demand, it might be time to make a switch.
…..P.K. Subban has a lot of things going for him and I know it sounds like nit-picking but, he has to stop taking bad penalties.
…..In Vancouver they gave Josh Gorges the third star but there is something seriously wrong that he is trying to play through. It was obvious in Calgary and Edmonton and his giveaway behind the net that led to the Vancouver goal was uncharacteristic. Hurt or not, Gorges still blocked six shots. Best thing that can happen for Gorges is three days healing time before the game in Winnipeg.
…..And, if you’re counting, the Canadiens have played 180 minutes on this road trip. Andrei Markov has been on the ice for 75.46 of that, or 42 percent. That’s more than Subban or any other member of the Canadiens. Some like to say Markov’s performance is based on the fact that he’s in a contract year. OK. But Markov doesn’t dictate his ice time,. coaches do. And right now the coaches think he is the Canadiens best defenceman.
…..David Desharnais put in another solid night of work but it’s clear that he is now the Canadiens third line centreman. He had four shots on goal and Rene Bourque had five, but at no time did they appear ready to break the game open with their scoring. Actually Bourque was the best part of the line.
…..Have you noticed that the only thing Michel Therrien has done in his line-juggling act is more his centremen around? The wingers have remained intact. Hence Galchenyuk and Gallagher are still free to do their thing…same with Briere and Pacioretty. Gionta wasn’ t in Vancouver, but when he returns, he’ll probably still have Bourque as his left winger.
Looking Ahead – Already a good trip can turn into a great road trip if the Canadiens can beat the Jets in Winnipeg on Tuesday night. The Canadiens spent the night in Vancouver and will fly to Winnipeg Sunday afternoon.
Here is Steve Smith’s “own goal” on Grant Fuhr of the Edmonton Oilers – 1986