phoenix dec 17The Canadiens scored three unanswered goals in the third period to come from behind to defeat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.  Max Pacioretty scored two goals, one of them into the Phoenix empty net to complete the comeback.  He also added an assist on the other Canadiens goal, scored by Andrei Markov.  After being outshot 15-3 in the first period, the Canadiens wound up on the plus side of shots on goal 28-27.    The three stars Carey Price, Pacioretty and Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith.

 

Adding it Up =

Who’s Number One?  I guess it’s become rhetorical this season.  Of course, it’s Carey Price.  He stole another one.  The Coyotes did everything they could possibly do to win this game in the first period outshooting the Canadiens 15-3. After keeping them in the game for twenty minute had to face only 12 shots the rest of the way as he teammates finally got their act together.

The Permineter Player –  OK, with his quick release and hard shot, and an annual 30 goals, you have to admit Max Pacioretty’s best offensive hockey seems to be played 25 feet from the net.  we’ll take it.    He started the comeback when he handed Andrei Markov a clear lane to tie the game on a power play (only his fourth assist of the season).  His winning goal was officially counted as a 33 footer.  His clincher into an empty net was a 112 footer, and I’m sure his coach wasn’t happy about it as he was risking the icing charge and another faceoff deep in the Canadiens end.    But, all is forgiven.  Pacioretty had six shot on goal.  The three goal posts don’t count.

Out of the Woods – The Canadiens power play, which had carried the team into the month of December,  had scored one goal in it’s last 21 opportunities entering the game.    First Markov on the power play to tie the game, then Pacioretty on another advantage to win it.  Welcome back.

The Other Half – While the Canadiens were 2 for 4 on their power play, Tomas Plekanec and his merry band of penalty killers shut the Coyotes down four times including a four minute penalty to Brandon Prust in the second period when the Coyotes only shot on goal was a 58-footer from Michael Stone.  With the 4-0 night, the Canadiens penalty killers are now up to third in the the league.

What Slump? – That’s a pretty hefty eleven games that Brendan Gallagher has gone without a goal.  But think of this.  If Andrei Markov’s shot had not beaten Mike Smith for the Canadiens first goal, Gallagher was right in his face looking for the rebound.  Pacioretty won the game and guess who was right in Smith’s face again.  It’s been like that for a while, which always tells us we should always look a little deeper into plain statistics

Also Worth Mentioning – …….The Canadiens have just some through a cruel portion of their schedule that included 12 games 21 nights.  It’s been up and down but in the end they had an 8-3-1 record and they still wind up on second place in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference.  You can argue the style points, but the proof is in the standings…..That blocked shot by Josh Gorges on Radim Vrbata off a two-one-one with 56 seconds remaining and the extra attacker on the ice will go down in my memory bank when we start talking about the next captain of the Canadiens……This is the first time this season the Canadiens won a game after trailing going into the third period.  ……From the scoresheet….Pacioretty had six shots to lead the Habs. (his three missed shots were goalposts.  Should mention Tomas Plekanec who had 5 shots on 7 attempts.  Gorges and Raphael Diaz led the team with blocked shots at four.  Alexei Emelin had four hits and Douglas Murray with 3.  We won’t talk about the faceoffs where the team wound up at 39 percent.

 

Moving On – St. Louis on Thurday and on into Nashville on Saturday night.  Then a six day Christmas break.  Anyone out there saying they haven’t earned it.

 

(more to come}