The Canadiens came from behind a 2-0 first period deficit to edge the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in a shootout Friday night. David Desharnais scored the only goal of the shootout and Peter Budaj stopped all three Columbus attempts to ensure the Canadiens their first win in three overtime games this season.
Linemates Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller scored the goals to bring the Canadiens back after Columbus took a 2-0 lead on goals by R.J. Umberger and Artem Anisimov scored in the first period.
Shots on goal were 40-25 in favour of the Canadiens. The three stars were Galchenyuk, Desharnais and Columbus goaltender Curtis McElhinney.
Adding It Up –
Came Out Swinging – Fully aware Columbus played a tough one in Boston Thursday night, the Canadiens were full marks for their early game. A couple of early penalties slowed them a bit but the first period was largely their’s except in one area.
No Reward – Two unusual goals gave the Blue Jackets their 2-0 lead. The Canadiens seemed to have all their bases covered but somehow Umberger managed to thread a harmless looking shot past a well covered player in the crease and three Budaj’s 5-hole to make it 1-0. And then 1:36 later Douglas Murray flattened a player in the crease who in turn knocked Budaj over. Before Budaj was up and back in the play, the puck was in the net. 2-0.
Can’t Teach This – In the final minute of the first period an unrelenting Alex Galchenyuk forechecked the puck away from defenseman Fedor Tyutin at his blueline and raced in alone calmly lifting the puck over goaltender Curtis McElhinney to narrow it to 2-1. Unassisted. A rare even-strength Canadiens goal.
Tying It Up – The Canadiens best were Eller and Galchenyuk. They were on the ice for a power play early in the second. Daniel Briere centred the puck to Eller who deflected it in to tie the game at 7:34 of a second period that saw the Canadiens outshooting the 13-1 at one point.
They’re Definitely Special – The Canadiens power play went to work 4 times scored the game-tieing goal by Eller and generated 13 shots of their 40 shots on goal. The Canadiens were shorthanded three times including 35 seconds when they were 3 on 5. Through all of that, Columbus managed just three shots.
Star Quality – Not only was Lars Eller on the ice for both goals, he also won 15 of 19 faceoffs and eight of his twelve shot attempts were on-goal. The combination of Eller and Galchenyuk put 13 shots in on the Columbus goal.
Out of the Doghouse – David Desharnais started the game on the fourth line with Ryan White and Travis Moen with Briere centering his former linemates. Therrien saw something he didn’t like. On the second shift of the second period Desharnais was back between Pacioretty and Bourque and he stayed there the rest of the game. Let’s not get too excited, but he contributed and ultimately he scored the game winner in the shootout.
Also Worth Mentioning – …….Daniel Briere’s night is worth examinining. He started out as a centre with Pacioretty and Bourque and wound up a spot player. First on the right side with Eller and Galchenyuk on three power plays and on the fourth line with White and Moen. He had only three third period shifts. ……The most difficult time for Peter Budaj turned out to be the overtime period, especially in the final 15 seconds when he stopped Brandon Dubinsky and Nikita Nikitin. Columbus outshot the Canadiens 4-0 in the five minute period. Otherwise he was the same steady force we’re used to seeing. And of course he was an excellent 3 for 3 in the shootout….Max Pacioretty equaled Lars Eller’s shots on goal with eight. In the six games since he returned from his hamstring strain, Pacioretty has 24 shots on goal and only one assist to show for it. He didn’t record a single hit and has only four his last four games we can only hope is because he’s babying that hamstring and not something else…….. ….Raphael Diaz continues to pile up his shotblocking statistics. He led the Canadiens with six. He’s blocked 18 the last five games, which is a nice addition to his game.
Moving On – The Canadiens play their second game in twenty-four hours when they face the New York Rangers Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The Rangers have been in Montreal waiting for them.