Dave Bolland scored in the sixth round of the shootout and the Florida Panthers edged the Canadiens 3-2 Thursday night at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens took a 2-0 lead in the game on two goals by Brendan Gallagher but the Panthers were able to battle back to tie the game early in the third period on Steven Kampfer’s first goal of the season just as a penalty Canadiens penalty expired. The other goal for Florida was scored by Tomas Fleischmann who also drew an assist on Kampfer’s goal. The Canadiens outshot the Panthers 39-21. A very important win for the Panthers who move to within a point of the fading Bruins in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth. The Molson Cup three stars were Fleischmann, Gallagher and Bolland.
Adding It Up –
Send In The Kids – Alex Galchenyuk came down with the flu and was a last minute scratch and the Canadien started the game with six rookies in their lineup, including one half of their defence. For the most part they did their job, some better than others. Up front, Jiri Sekac had a good night, especially in the third period. Jacob de la Rose led the Canadiens with five hits. Christian Thomas managed three shots on goal playing on the fourth line.
The Recalls – In the last three days, Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi were called up from Hamilton. We’ve seem him in only two games, but Pateryn appears to be ready to play in the NHL. On the third pairing with Hamilton teammate Jarred Tinordi his game appeared under control. And Therrien liked his game enough that he put him out in the overtime alongside Tom Gilbert. As for Tinordi, there were a couple of questionable moments in the first period but after that he seemed to settle in until that fight in the third period. A few of us, including coach Therrien, wondering about the interference call which led to the fight with Alex Petrovic. Three seconds after the penalty expired the Panthers tied the game at 2-2.
A Better Fate – The Panthers tied the game at 4:57 of the third period. Over the next ten minutes the Canadiens outshot the Panthers 11-0 but couldn’t beat Roberto Luongo, who probably deserved first star recognition in this game. Among those 11 shots were eight scoring chances with the Plekanec/Eller/Sekac line leading the way with six of them. In the end, scoring chances for the game favoured the Canadiens 29-12.
Superman – P.K. Subban played the third period of the game in Ottawa practically on one leg and still logged over 11 minutes. Most of thought he was a question mark for this game. And there he was, and at the end of the night 30:28 in ice time. Until we see the return of Sergei Gonchar we’re going to see a lot of Subban, which cannot be a bad thing.
Rewarded – Net presence. It’s like a broken record. Without traffic in front of the net on a consistant basis, you won’t win consistently in this league. Brendan Gallagher not only is the poster boy but on many nights, the only proponent of the tactic. He scored his two goals winning battles in front of the net. Of his 15 goals this season, ten have been scored in exactly that fashion. End of the night, Gallagher was the Canadiens best forward.
Taking the Long View – This was the Canadiens fourth game in the last six nights. They came away with five of a possible eight points including a key win against Detroit. The Canadiens are tied with the Islanders in the Eastern Conference but have a game in hand over them, and they remain second in the overall standings behind Nashville, making criticism over the long term, very difficult.
Also Worth Mentioning – ……Tom Gilbert seems to be thriving on the added responsibility. He has played very well the last month and again played a confident game at both ends of the ice. He had four shots on goal and in his own end, led the Canadiens with five blocks. ….The Plekanec line with Eller and Sekac was the Canadiens best. Who knows, in Michel Therrien‘s world, whether it was enough to earn him another start for Sekac remains to be seen, but I think it should. ……A bounce-back night for Manny Malhotra after a seven game slump. He won 9 of 13 (69%). The Canadiens as a team won 62%.
Moving On – The Canadiens host the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday and then they hit the road for two to St. Louis Tuesday and Columbus Thursday.