Manny Malhotra’s first goal of the season at 5:00 of the first period proved to be the game winner. David Desharnais scored twice, his second into an empty net. The other Canadiens goal came from Tomas Plekanec.
Shots on goal in the game were 30-23 in favour of the Leafs. The Molson Cup three stars were Price, Desharnais and Malhotra.
Adding It Up –
What Else is New? – Somebody in the press box said at the end of the first period that if the goaltenders were to switch sides, the score would be 4-0 Toronto. That’s how good Carey Price was. Each game he shows us something else. In this game it was his use of the poke check and that special ability of his to make plays.
For the Books – Price now has a league-leading 36 wins in 50 games played. That matches Ken Dryden for most wins through 50. Dryden did it in 1976-77, the season the Canadiens won 60 of 80 games. The shutout was the 31st of his career. He also leads the legue in goals against average at 1.88 and save percentage at .936. And opponents fear factor of having to face him in the playoffs is rising on a daily basis.
Leave Him Be – There has been more than a few rumours surrounding Lars Eller’s future with the Canadiens. If Marc Bergevin is going to make a move on him, there had better be something very good in return. Eller, when moved back with Plekanec and Galchenyuk midway throuigh the first period did almost everything right. He took six shots, three of them on target and was very good at both ends of the ice, especially on the forecheck.
Here to Stay? – Based on what we’ve seen over his six games with the club, Greg Pateryn has finally figured it out. A confident and nearly mistake free 18 shifts in the game playing beside the returning Sergei Gonchar who appears to be ready to break another rookie into the lineup. Pateryn led both teams with six hits. He also blocked two shots.
Scoring Spree – Manny Malhotra went through the first 51 games with one assist. In his last two games he has a goal and assist. His goal, which came thanks a brilliant bit of work from Dale Weise was his first since last season. Mike Komisarek set up Malhotra for his last previous goal against Philadelphia last April 13th while playing for Carolina. By the way, Malhotra won 61% of his faceoffs (11 of 18).
In the Hunt – This win combined with the Nashville Predators 4-3 home ice loss to Detroit left the Canadiens in the thick of the race for the President’s trophy. The Canadiens trail first place Nashville by two points with a game in hand.
Also Worth Mentioning – ….David Desharnais‘s first goal was all Brendan Gallagher. Gallagher was wrecking havoc in front of Jonathan Bernier forcing the puck to pop free and Desharnais had a gimme…..For the record, that goal gave Desharnais a career total of 200 points. ……Newcomer Devante Smith-Pelly started the game on the Plekanec line but seemed to be having trouble keeping up with Plekanec and Galchenyuk. After three shifts he was dropped down to the line with de la Rose and Prust midway through the first period and stayed there. …..After a month long goalscoring drought the Canadiens have scored 14 goals over their last three games. ….Tomas Plekanec led both teams in shots on goal with 5. His goal was his 19th of the season. ….Scoring chances in the game favoured Toronto 21-18. …Brandon Prust led the Canadiens with 3 of them among his four shots on goal.…P.K. Subban has worked himself back into the Norris Trophy conversation. His assist on the Plekanec goal gave him 48 points and ties him with Calgary’s Mark Giordano for the lead among defensmen. Subban has a goal and 11 assists his last nine games. He is plus-7 his last two games.
Moving On – The Canadiens hit the road for what is clearly their toughest road trip of the season. They’ll play Monday night in San Jose followed by back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday in Anaheim and Los Angeles and wrapping up in Phoenix Arizona next Saturday. After that there will be sixteen games left in their schedule – eight home, eight away.