David Desharnais scored at 3:25 of the overtime period to complete a comeback 4-3 Canadiens win over the Vancouver Canucks Monday night at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens trailed 3-0 early in the second period but came back with a shorthanded goal by Lars Eller, followed by Max Pacioretty’s ninth goal of the season narrowed it to 3-2 heading to the third period. Tomas Fleischmann then scored to tie the game with 3:08 remaining setting the stage for the overtime. Fleischmann also assisted on the game winning goal. Shots on goal favoured the Canadiens 36-26. The three stars were Desharnais, Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin and Fleischmann
Adding It Up –
Out of a Deep Hole – The Canadiens had a horrible first period. Including the Colorado game through four periods they were outscored 8-1 and it became 9-1 when Daniel Sedin made it 3-0 in the fourth minute of the second period. For most of the first half of the game the Canadiens appeared to be half a step behind the Canucks and the score was a reflection of the play.
Game Changer – The game turned on one play. The Canucks had already scored on two of their power plays and Brian Flynn took a bad roughing penalty at 7:12 of the second period. The Canadiens had Eller, Smith-Pelly plus Petry and Gilbert out killing it. Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev fell down at the Canadiens line as Gilbert sent it up for Lars Eller on a 2-on-1 with Smith-Pelly. Eller kept the puck and buried it for the goal shorthanded. From that point it became a different game.
Gassed? – The Canucks were playing their 6th game of a seven game road trip. How much that had to do with the Canadiens turnaround would make a good debate. What was clear, the Canadiens were better and the Canucks were back on their heels. From the time of the Eller goal to game end, the Canadiens outshot Vancouver 22-11.
The Rookie – Mike Condon is finding out that things don’t always go smoothly for a goaltender in the NHL. He didn’t look confident through the first half of the game although it should be said he didn’t have much chance on the first two goals. The third one was not very good at all; off his shoulder and into the top of the net. Credit is due however. He shrugged it off and settled in for the rest of the night stopping the Canucks final 13 shots.
Quandry – What are the Canadiens going to do with Alexander Semin? He came to Montreal with a reputation for wasting his considerable natural talent with what seemed to indifferent approach to the game. After games in the press box he again was given a chance to change opinions, In his two games back he has no shots on goal and only one shot attempt. In the third period with the Canadiens trailing a goal he took a lazy holding penalty in the 5th minute. From that point he was nailed to the bench. He played only 10 shifts in the entire game and 6:48. In his post game comments Michel Therrien said the Canadiens “will have to find solutions for him.”
Also Worth Mentioning
….Despite Semin, Alex Galchenyuk and Eller had really a really good night. Eller was really involved physically and Galchenyuk seemed to have the puck all night, which their 66% corsi-for numbers seem to confirm.
….Max Pacioretty narrowed the game to 3-2 with his ninth goal of the season, a quick reaction ‘gimme’ into the open side off Brendan Gallagher‘s rebound. Outside of the empty net goal against Boston, that was his first in ten games. The goals are going to come. He had eight shots on goals…fourteen in the last two games.
….On paper the Plekanec/Pacioretty/Gallagher line had a dominant night with 15 shots on goal, but the one that caught my eye was Desharnais/Wiese/Fleischmann. Desharnais has been good all season. This game ranked up there with his best.
….In the off season Marc Bergevin gambled on two players. Semin is looking like a bust, Tomas Fleischmann– the opposite. Playing in his 600th career game, Fleischmann tied the game and then assisted on the game winner in overtime.
….I would say this was Tom Gilbert‘s best game of the season. He wound up with a teamleading 5:57 penalty killing time as part of his 20 minutes icetime.
….On the scoresheet – Subban led in icetime with 29:07. He also recorded a team leading five hits. Desharnais won 70% of his faceoffs (7 of 10).
Up Next – The Arizona Coyotes at the Bell Centre. First of back-to-back games. They’ll play the Islanders at Brooklyn Friday. Will Condon play in both games which would make it ten straight starts or do we see Tokarski or maybe even Price by the weekend. Stay tuned.