Brian Flynn scored in the fifth round of the shootout to give the Buffalo Sabres a 4-3 win over the Canadiens and a weekend sweep of their home and home series against Montreal. The Sabres were once again led by their goaltender Jhonas Enroth who stopped 41 of 44 Canadiens shots. Zemgus Girgensons, Chris Stewart and Flynn scored goals in regulation time. For the Canadiens it was Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller and Max Pacioretty. Dustin Tokarski was in goal for the Canadiens, who lost their third game in a row. The game’s three stars were Flynn, Pacioretty and Brian Gionta, who assisted on the goal that sent the game into overtime with just under six minutes remaining.
Adding It Up –
Can’t Buy One – Michel Therrien said after the game that he liked the effort put out by his hockey club. Point taken. But his hockey club can’t hit a closed barn door right now. Over the two weekend games they outshot the Sabres 75-51 and found themselves outscored 5-4. Worse, the shot attempts were 153 to 87. By every traditional and progressive statistical analysis the Sabres were soundly beaten except on the scoreboard.
Kovalev Redux – Alex Galchenyuk has enormous talent but he’s beginning to take on the persona of the former 27 for the Canadiens. He makes breathtaking moves, can skate better than 90 percent of the hockey population but accomplishes little where it counts. Through the first two periods of this game six of his ten shots missed the net. He was spectacular in the third period and overtime but at the end of the night, one assist to show.
Turned Him Loose – If you had the feeling that Galchenyuk had the puck all night (his CorsiFor was 80%) you are right in thinking P.K. Subban made his mark in this game as well. This was the Subban that caused the Canadiens to hand him that big contract especially in the third period and the overtime when he produced four scoring chances. Subban has been pretty conservative this season. We saw Subban the potential gamebreaker in this game.
Unbowed – Alexei Emelin had to pay almost 11-thousand dollars in fines in the afternoon for an aggressive check on Brian Gionta Friday night. It didn’t change his game for a moment. He was credited with a game-high five hits and, alongside Sergei Gonchar, was a presence all night.
Also Worth Mentioning ….. Dustin Tokarski was all right. Thought he might have been better on the Chris Stewart goal. Stewart split newcomer Bryan Allan and Mike Weaver to get in alone, but I thought Tokarski might have challenged him more. Nothing he could do about the other two goals. ….The power play was brutal once again. In their two opportunites they managed one shot on goal – from a bad angle by Lars Eller. Time bring in some coaching help or, maybe somebody should ask Sergei Gonchar how a power play should be organized. ….Speaking of Eller: It looks like he has finally found his on-ice persona. The goal was his seventh of the season and seven shots on goal in the game cannot be ignored. …..In the end, it’s hardly a disgrace losing two to Buffalo. Right now they’re beating everybody, with five wins in the last six games, mostly through sheer hard work and patience. In this game they blocked 30 Canadiens shots..
From the Scoresheet – Eller with 7 shots on goal. Galchenyuk-6. The Plekanec line attempted 34 shots, 13 on-goal. The Canadiens had an unreal night in the faceoff circle at 72%; led by Eller 13 of 17 (76%) and Plekanec17 of 23 (74%) Emelin had those five hits.
Turned Sour – What was looking like a pretty good month of November for the Canadiens fell apart in the final week. With three losses in a row they finish the month 8-5-1 and will start the month of December on a tough Western Conference road trip.
Moving On – Travel day Sunday followed by a brutal four game midwest trip starting in Denver Monday night, followed by Minnesota Wednesday and then Chicago and Dallas Friday and Saturday nights.