blues galchenyukAlex Galchenyuk scored the game’s first two goals and the Blues could never catch up as the Canadiens went on to a 5-2 and a two game season sweep Tuesday night in St. Louis. Along with his two goals, Galchenyuk added an assist. Brendan Gallagher also scored twice for the Habs. Michael Bournival scored the other. For St. Louis it was David Backes and T.J. Oshie. Shots on goal were 29-23 in the Blues’ favour. The Molson Cup three stars were Galchenyuk, Gallagher and Andrei Markov.

Adding It Up –

Making History – Another notch in an astounding season for Carey Price. Price recorded his team record ninth consecutive road victory breaking a record set by Rogatien Vachon 46 years ago. During the streak he has beaten such contenders as the Islanders, Pittsburgh, Rangers, Boston, Detroit and now St. Louis. Over the nine games he has given up a total of ten goals for a 1.11 goals against average and a .960 save percentage.

On The JobAlex Galchenyuk was moved to right wing by Michel Therrien on Monday.  At the time somebody was quick to point out that the only occasion a player sticks to his forward position in the New NHL is when teams face off.  Otherwise they’re all over the ice.  Galchenyuk scored the opening goal of the game coming off right wing. His second goal threaded the needle from the left corner. He was at centre in his own zone when he brilliantly sent Michael Bournival away with a tape-to-tape stretch breakaway pass for the backbreaking fourth goal. Good night for Galchenyuk. Good night for linemates Plekanec and Eller as well.  The line was plus-8.

blues paciorettyNon-Capitalists – If the Canadiens were even a marginally better offensive team the game could have been 8-2. Scoring goals is is the least of Max Pacioretty’s problem. He had three breakaways and Jake Allen stopped him each time. The Canadiens had nine odd-man rushes in the game, scored on two of them – Gallagher off the two on one with Desharnais and on the Bournival break coming out of the penalty box.

For the Defense P.K. Subban wasn’t the offensive force he can be some nights but the Blues were certainly aware of his presence on the ice all night. He took a couple of penalties in the first period but he also set the tone inside his own blueline, especially in the first period against Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko.  Even playing shutdown defense, he still recorded two assists.

Statistic of the Night –  25:29.  That was Nathan Beaulieu‘s ice time.  More than Subban (23:11).  More than Markov (23:29).   Actually Beaulieu’s defense partner Tom Gilbert also logged more ice time that Subban and Markov at 24:53.

Quote of the Night“”It’s not the traffic (in front of Price).  It’s anything you funnel (to the net) which is good against most gaolies  (Price) pushes perfectly to his exit strategy.  The Canadiens use shots on goal with him as an exit strategy.”  Blues coach Ken Hitchcock speaking to broadcaster Darren Pang on the Canadiens use of Price as part of their transition game.   

Also Worth Mentioning -….The Canadiens pick their spots. They have a losing record against the NHL’s non-playoff teams but against the other 15 teams currently in a playoff spot their record is 29-8-2. …..Another eyebrow-raising performance from Jacob de la Rose. He makes plays at the age of 19 that most 30 year olds don’t make. He saved a goal with a poke check on Paul Stastny at the crease five minutes into what was a scoreless game. …..Up from Hamilton, Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi each got just under 11 minutes of ice time and weren’t noticable, which can only be a good thing. ….The Blues entered the game just ahead of the Canadiens for the league lead in faceoff percentage. The Habs won 23 of 40 for 58%. Galchenyuk‘s second goal came directly off a Plekanec faceoff win. ……For those immersed in advanced stats the scoring chances in the game favoured St. Louis 29-19; a lot of it coming after the Canadiens took their 4-1 lead and settled into their shutdown game…. Pacioretty led the Canadiens with seven scoring chances; third star Andrei Markov five scoring chances and two assists.

Moving On – The Canadiens moved on to Columbus where they’ll meet the Blue Jackets for the second time in six nights on Thursday.  Newcomer Devante Smith-Pelly will probably be in the Canadiens lineup somewhere.  Then it’s home to face Toronto Saturday night. The Canadiens remain first in the Eastern Conference by a point over the Islanders with two games in hand.