There was no comeback for the Canadiens against Arizona Thursday night at the Bell Centre. The Coyotes took a 3-0 lead on Montreal early in the second period and, unlike their game against Vancouver on Monday, the attempt to get back into the game fell a goal short and Arizona skated away with a 3-2 victory. Martin Hanzal, Shane Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson gave the Coyotes their 3-0 lead. Max Pacioretty and Dale Weise scored for the Canadiens. The Weise goal came with Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon on the bench for the extra attacker in the final minute of the game. The Canadiens outshot Arizona 33-20.
The RDS three stars were Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, Brendan Gallagher and Ekman-Larsson.
Adding It Up –
First the Good News – At his post game news conference head coach Michel Therrien announced that Carey Price will return to action for the first time in ten games Friday night vs. the Islanders at Brooklyn. Price suffered a lower body injury some time in the game at Edmonton October 29th.
Just In Time – Mike Condon needs a break. The last couple of games he hasn’t been great but he hasn’t been bad either. What were good bounces early on turned into bad breaks the last couple of games and so ended the miracles. The Coyotes had their 2-0 lead on the only two Coyotes scoring chances in the first two periods. Both goals on rebounds. It would be hard to imagine someone complaining of a record of 5-2-2 with Carey Price on injury reserve for nine games.
Bad Habits – Goaltending or not, the Canadiens have fallen into a pattern they established last season of coming out flat early. For the fifth straight game they fell behind in the first period. Cumulatively, in those five games they’ve been outscored 10-1 in the first period. Easy to point at the goaltender, but what became of an offense that produced one goal in five first periods?
The Special Teams – “Our special teams have to be better.” That was the closest thing to criticism of his team from Michel Therrien during his post game news conference. He was right of course. The Canadiens power play looked great but produced little. They played one third of the game with the man advantage and managed in ten minutes managed only three shots on goal and one scoring chance.
Workhorse – For the second straight game P.K. Subban was on the ice for every second of the five Canadiens power plays. Subban’s not the reason for the fact that power play hasn’t scored obviously, but it would be nice to see more than the one power play shot he produced in this game. Everyone, including Subban trying to be a little to cute with the man advantage.
Back Breaker – The Canadiens’ team psyche seemed to have been shaken by the third Arizona goal on an Arizona power play early in the second period. Three goals on only six shots will take the most confident of teams down a peg or two. The Canadiens seemed tentative for most of the rest of the second period and didn’t seem to get their game back together until it was too late.
….The Rangers ten game winning streak ended Thursday night as well, so there is still a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference between New York and the Canadiens at 30 points. Each has won 14 games. The Rangers have played nineteen so far; the Canadiens twenty.
….With the 3-0 lead the Coyotes spread a pretty heavy checking blanket over the Canadiens and as a result it was hard to rate individual performance. Brendan Gallagher was given the game’s second star mostly based on his work ethic.
….The most spectacular Canadien was Alex Galchenyuk who singlehandedly turned nothing into scoring chances especially in the first period.
….I thought Greg Pateryn had a pretty good night. One shift midway through the first period especially stood out. Very steady game. Nothing spectacular. Not his style.
….Torrey Mitchell, who replaced Alexander Semin on the line with Galchenyuk and Eller missed the entire third period with an undisclosed injury.
….From the scoresheet – Including his ten minutes of power play time Subban played 30:33. Nobody else was close (Markov had 23:19). Seven players led the Canadiens with 3 shots on goal. Only Nathan Beaulieu and Paul Byron failed to register a shot. One of those rare occasions whenTomas Plekanec was eaten alive in the faceoff circle winning only 8 of 24.
Moving On – A challenging home-and-home against the New York Islanders; Friday night in Brooklyn and Sunday night back at the Bell Centre. The Islanders have a record of 19-10-6 and are fifth in the Eastern Conference.