The Canadiens, playing their second game in 24 hours, made it six wins in a row with a 4-1 win over the Red Wings in Detroit Sunday night. After a scoreless first period, Brandon Prust and P.K. Subban made it 2-0 in the second and Tomas Plekanec made it 3-0 before the Wings got on the board with a power play goal from Riley Sheahan. Brendan Gallagher finished the scoring off in the third period’s ninth minute. After getting only ten shots through the first two periods the Wings outshot the Canadiens 19-7 in the final twenty minutes. Final shots on goal were 29-19 in favour of the Wings. The three stars in Detroit were Tokarski, P.K. Subban andWings defenseman Dan DeKeyser.
Adding It Up –
Tireless – The Canadiens were playing their second game in 24 hours for the fourth time this season and their fourth game in six nights. At the same time, the Wings were waiting at home for the Habs after a win over Chicago on Friday. It was the Wings who looked tired and flat and the Canadiens are now 4-0 this in those second games, all four of them road victories.
Men At Work – This was shutdown hockey. As close to a perfect road game as can be found. The Canadiens clogged up the neutral zone, kept Detroit to the outside in their own end and waited in the woods for their chances. Scoring chances were 4-4 in the scoreless first period and the Wings had only six scoring chances through the first two periods.
Creating Their Luck – The Red Wings may complain about bad bounces but the Canadiens worth ethic created all four of their goals. A bad Detroit line change created the 3-on-1 break for Brandon Prust’s opening goal. Max Pacioretty won a battle in the faceoff circle that led to P.K. Subban’s shot going off Kyle Quincey’s leg to make it 2-0. Tomas Plekanec was right at the goalmouth when Brendan Gallagher’s shot went off a skate and Gallagher was just being Gallagher on the fourth goal. Knocked down twice behind the net before he shot the puck off Jimmy Howard’s arm from behind the net.
The Battler – Dustin Tokarski’s fourth start of the season, three of which have been the second half of back to back series. He’s won all three giving up a total of three goals and has been named a star in each of them. The Canadiens pretty much left it up to him in the third period and he had to deal with 19 shots. The only time they got to him was a Detroit power play sequence in which he was hit in the head with a shot, lost his stick and before he was re-set Sheahan scored from close in. His season record is now 3-1-0. His goals against drops to 1.67 and his save percentage rises to .937, ranking second in the league in both categories.
Special – The Canadiens penalty killing was outstanding. At one point the Canadiens took four penalties in a row in the second period. Over that stretch while shorthanded eight minutes the penalty killers allowed only two shots on Tokarski. Neither of them was registered as a scoring chance. At the end of the night Detroit’s power play was 1 for 6. Logging the most time is shorthanded situations were Emelin (5:42); Malhotra (4:54); Weaver (4:31); Subban (4:24) and Prust (4:17)
Also Worth Mentioning – …..Once again the offense was spread out. Seven players with two shots on goal. ……The Plekanec/Galchenyuk/Gallagher line registered 2 each and came away with five scoring points (Gallagher and Plekanec each with a goal and assist). …..The Canadiens are now 14-4-1 for 29 points. The last time the Canadiens won 14 of their first 19 games was 23 years ago, the start of the 1991-92 season. That team also had a 14-4-1 record before recording two losses and a tie over it’s next three games.
Moving On – Another big test to pass. The Pittsburgh Penguins will play the Habs at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night. The Penguins are four points behind the Canadiens with three games in hand. That will be followed by St. Louis Thursday and then another back to back set against in Boston and then at Madison Square Garden next Saturday and Sunday.