anaheim march 5Andrei Markov scored in the sixth round of the shootout and the Canadiens edged the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in a wild game at the Honda Center in Anaheim Wednesday night. Markov’s game winner came seconds after a review on Kyle Palmieri’s effort was ruled no goal after his shot hit both goal posts and failed to cross the line. The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Brian Gionta and Max Pacioretty. Anaheim completely dominated the second period, outshooting the Canadiens 19-9 and got goals by Tim Jackman, Francois Beauchemin and Daniel Winnik. But a goal by Brendan Gallagher tied the game up with 36 seconds remaining in the period. The teams failed to score through the third period and overtime, sending the game to the shootout. Dustin Tokarski stopped 39 of 42 shots in his Canadiens debut. Shots on goal were 42-31. The three stars were Gallagher, Ryan Getzlaf and Tokarski.

Adding It Up –

Just Asking – Why are the games the Canadiens play against teams from the Western Conference so much more entertaining that the ones against their Eastern rivals? Could it be that the Western teams actually want to create offense rather than simply prevent it?

Getting The Jump – The first ten minutes of the game were all Canadiens. The shots on goal were 8-0 thanks to an intense forecheck by the Habs that produced the game’s opening goal when Brian Gionta went straight to the net on a faceoff to bang in Tomas Plekanec faceoff. The Canadiens then survived an Anaheim power play that produced eight shots before taking a 2-0 lead on a sweet Desharnais to Pacioretty pass that produced his 30th goal of the season.

Too Good To Last – Whatever the Ducks lost in the first ten minutes of the game, they found in the next 30 minutes and they took it out on Dustin Tokarski. Over those thirty minutes the Canadiens were outshot 32-11 and the enslaught produced the three goals Anaheim needed to take the lead.

Embarrassing – The Ducks second goal was scored on what appeared to be clearing shot by Francois Beauchemin that hit a stanchion and deflected into the net that Tokarski had just vacated so that he could trap the expected puck behind the net.

Needed That – The score was 3-2 going into the final minute and, after being throttled by the Ducks forecheck for nearly thirty minutes, the Desharnais line finally put some pressure on Jonas Hiller. It started with a Subban shot. Desharnais, Moen and Gallagher crashed the crease and out of the scrum Gallagher hoisted the puck past Hiller to tie the game with 36 seconds left in the period.

anaheimn march 5 IISecond Wind – The late goal gave the Canadiens new life. The rest of the way they played Anaheim on even terms. Gallagher batted a puck into the net 1:06 of the third, but it was ruled no goal because of a high stick. Hiller made excellent saves on Markov and then Gallagher midway through the period and Gionta had a great chance with three seconds left in regulation.

Also Worth Mentioning – ….For the second straight game, the Desharnais line was the Canadiens best. They produced 13 shots on goal including six each from Gallagher and Pacioretty. Desharnais and Gallagher were plus-2. ……You might have forgiven the rookie Tokarski, if had fallen apart after letting in that fluke second period Beauchemin goal, but the kid buckled down and stopped 20 of the last 21 shots minutes of the game to get his first Canadiens win. …… Desharnais is making shootouts look easy. He has now scored on five of his last six attempts. …..The Canadiens have played five post-Olympic games; four of them have gone into overtime. The Canadiens have won three of those games, twice in shootouts and have cashed seven of a possible ten points. ……I thought Rene Bourque had a pretty good game.  He had three shots on goal and seemed engaged the whole night.  ……When is Tomas Plekanec‘s game going to hit the wall?  He played an unreal 25:47 which was four seconds behind the game leader Andrei Markov.  Included were  3:03 on the power play and 6:33 killing penalties  …..They play physical hockey on the west coast. A total of 70 recorded hits in the game, 33 by the Canadiens; Jarred Tinordi leading the way with six. That’s a total of 75 Canadiens hits in the two southern California games.

Moving On – The Canadiens will play the second of two in twenty-four hours in Phoenix Thursday. Thomas Vanek will be there and in the lineup. So will defenceman Mike Weaver. Peter Budaj will probably be back in goal. Expect another one-goal game. The Canadiens don’t seem to like it any other way.