After trailing 1-0 in the first period, the Canadiens roared back with five straight goals to score a convincing 5-1 win over the Boston Bruins Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Max Pacioretty led the Canadiens with a pair of goals, his 7th and 8th of the season. Dale Weise had a goal and assist along with Lars Eller Jiri Sekac. Boston’s lone goal was scored by Dougie Hamilton on a first period power play. The Canadiens outshot the Bruins 34-22. The three stars were Weise, Pacioretty and Sekac.
Adding It Up –
Bad Habit – For the 17th straight game this season the Canadiens failed have the lead at the end of the first period. And it was another of those slow starts. The Bruins had the puck through most of the first period outshooting the Habs 11-6. And of course they took the 1-0 lead despite a pretty good first period from Carey Price.
Out of Gas – It is a fact, when the Canadiens have there track shoes on, the Bruins tend to be overwhelmed and they had the jets on afterburner for the last two periods. Bruins fans will blame it on on a long night in Toronto on Wednesday, but two games in 24 hours cannot excuse the fast fade they made in the second period.
“The Gordie Howe” – Dale Weise was in a zone from the game’s opening shift. He flattened Gregory Campbell in the third minute and Campbell made the mistake of fighting him. He had only four shifts in the period but every one was eventful. In the second period Dennis Seidenberg hooked him down on a breakaway and on the penalty shot Weise calmly put the puck through Niklas Svedberg’s legs to tie the game. Late in the second period with the score 2-1, he brilliantly assisted Max Pacioretty’s first goal. Fight, goal, assist. The Gordie Howe hattrick. Worthy of the first star.
The Sniper – Few players in this league can find open ice as often as Max Pacioretty. And few seem to be able to blow chances to take advantage of it as often. But the sheer number of those chances will allow him to be around 40 goals again this season. After blowing three early opportunities he was right there for the Weise pass and then early in the third period he was on top of the crease to direct Desharnais’ feed into the net. If you’re counting – and aren’t we all – that’s eight goals now for Pacioretty.
The New Guy – It’s one game, but for someone who only had a 20 minute practice with his new teammates and a chalkboard session with the coach, Sergei Gonchar had a pretty good night. First of all he logged 20:08. He took 11 shots, five of them were misses but in almost every instance the miss was intentional with the aim of setting up a play around the goal crease. Even strength Gonchar played the first period with Tom Gilbert; the second and third periods with Alexei Emelin. He didn’t look like a 40 year old to me, but 1200 games of NHL experience can really cover up the age factor.
Man Advantage – The power play misery ended thanks to Jiri Sekac who broke past the defense to score the final goal of the game with Simon Gagne in the penalty box for boarding. To that point the Canadiens had been on an 0-for-28 droought over 53:19 of power play time.
Also Worth Mentioning – ……In the three games since that 5-0 shellacking at the hands of Chicago, Carey Price has given up two goals. His save percentage has risen from .907 to .920. He’s like to have that goal back in let in in the first period, but that was his only mistake in over a week. ……….Manny Malhotra won the battle of the faceoff wizards. Malhotra won 12 of 17 for 71%. Patrice Bergeron 13 of 28 for 46%. …..Alexei Emelin seems to be shrugging off those Boston death threats. Eleven hits in the game, some of them heavy duty. ……Nathan Beaulieu was dressed as a seventh defenseman. In the first period he had only two shifts, both as a leftwinger on the Malhotra line. In the second period he played with either Mike Weaver or Tom Gilbert. He also disposed fo Matt Fraser in a one punch fight midway through the second period. ……Weaver blocked 6 more shots to lead both teams. ……And Michel Therrien is not going to break up the Eller line anytime soon. They contributed two more goals on six shots on goal and right near the top in the game’s Corsi puck possession numbers,….. And finally, something has to be said about the game Alex Galchenyuk played. We don’t need Corsi numbers to know that Galchenyuk was a dominant figure in this game. The only thing that didn’t happen for him was making the scoresheet. There’s magic in those hands and were very close to the breakout.
Moving On – The Canadiens share the league lead in victories with Vancouver at twelve. And they’re back in first place in the Eastern Conference. Next up a tough weekend against Philadelphia at home and in Detroit on Sunday.