Max Pacioretty broke out of a season long slump with a natural hattrick to give the Canadiens a 3-0 lead. Michael Bournival, Daniel Briere and Alex Galchenyuk completed the scoring. Nino Niederreiter and Dany Heatley scored for the Wild, the Heatley goal coming with two seconds remaining. Shots on goal were 28-27 in favour of the Canadiens. The three stars were Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Andrei Markov.
Adding It Up –
Same Old-Same Old – The first period mirrored just about everything the Canadien did, or didn’t do through the month of November. Close checking. Few scoring chances either side. Three more shots from Pacioretty but nothing to show. 0-0 into the second period.
About Due – Going into the game, Pacioretty had recorded 25 shots on goal in the seven game since coming back from his hamstring strain and had only an assist to show for it. His season total was two goals, one of them an empty netter. Time was due.
The Breakout – It started in the third minute of the second period when David Desharnais sent a blind backhand pass to Pacioretty from the boards that went off his skate to open the scoring. Seven minutes later, it was Desharnais across to Pacioretty. 2-0. Then on a power play at 13:36 he deflected a Subban shot and it was 3-0.
Redemption – Going into the game, Pacioretty and Desharnais had a combined total of 5 points. In a ten minute span in the second period they doubled their season with three goals and two assists.
What Took So Long? – Brendan Gallagher played on the line with Desharnais and Pacioretty for the first time since the end of last season. In the final 28 games of last year, they combined for 26 goals, including eleven for Pacioretty. Should we be surprised they picked up where they left off? Pacioretty had ten shots on goal and the line had 13.
Quote of the Night – Max Pacioretty “I think everyone in the world wants to play with Gallagher.”
Also Worth Mentioning – ……Alexei Emelin logged 18:06 in his second game back from last May’s knee reconstruction. Hasn’t missed a beat. Part of his line – a team leading 5 hits and 5 blocked shots. ……After a cooling off period, P.K. Subban was plus-3 in the game and put up another two assists. He now is plus-7 for the season, which still doesn’t seem to slow up those who are determined to be critical of his play. ……If Subban had a good night, Andrei Markov was quite simply great. It was one of those games where you had to be there to appreciate subtle things he did to help his team. ……….If you thought it was ‘Peter to pay Paul’ by taking Galllacher off the Eller/Galchenyuk line, you may be wrong. Brandon Prust took over admirably on right wing. True, no hands. But lots of sandpaper. I have no doubt the skills of Eller and Galchenyuk will survive if Galagher is in another place. …..Minnesota coach Mike Yeo invoked the mercy rule and pulled goaltender Josh Harding after Pacioretty’s third goal. His sacrificial replacement, rookie Darcy Kuemper who was called up from Iowa of the AHL last week then gave up three goals on the first five shots he faced. ….Carey Price meanwhile, had a comparitively easy night. I’m trying to remember the last bad goal he gave up. It wasn’t any of the two Minnesota got in this game.
Moving On – Rough weekend ahead. The Canadiens play two more in 24 hours. Washington Friday night and then back home to meet Pittsburgh on Saturday.
(More to Come)