The Los Angeles Kings outhit the Habs 58-21 which means the Kings spent the entire night trying to get the puck away from the Canadiens and not being very successful at it.
The Canadiens played their best first period of the season and came away with a 2-0 lead. It was just the second time in fourteen games this season they scored twice in the opening 20 minutes. Their hard work in the first period paid off with goals from Paul Byron and Daniel Carr. Phillip Danault made it 3-0 in the second period and the rest of the game was bar-the-door on a Kings team that had scored twelve goals it’s last two games.
MOVING ON UP
A promotion was inevitable after the way Phillip Danault played his first thirteen games as a left wing on the Canadiens fourth line. Michel Therrien sat out the struggling David Desharnais and moved Danault up to the third line where he was at his natural centre ice position for the first time this season. Playing with Max Pacioretty and Andrew Shaw he scored a goal, was outstanding at both ends of the ice, won 78 percent of his faceoffs, seemed to pull Pacioretty out of his doldrums at least for now and earned a much deserved first star. Nothing is carved in stone in Therrien’s world, but one must wonder where Desharnais will continue to fit into the scheme of things as we move ahead through the season.
After a less than solid effort against Boston Tuesday, the coach made a few more changes and every one of them worked out. Daniel Carr dropped down to the fourth line with Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn and scored the game winner and was solid defensively, an area that caused the Canadiens to send him back to St. John’s earlier this season. Sven Andrighetto was with Plekanec and Shaw and that line showed some jump, producing five of the 23 Canadiens shots. Joel Hanley replaced Greg Pateryn alongside Nathan Beaulieu and the coach liked what he saw enough to give him more than 13 minutes of ice time.
Once again Alexander Radulov gave the fans a playmaking show as he stickhandled his way through some intense checking to set up Paul Byron for the opening goal of the game. Seven points the last six games for Radulov and he has earned primary assist on eight of his nine helpers this season. We might see some changes on the left side of the line from time-to-time but it will be a cold night in hell before Therrien breaks up Galchenyuk and Radulov.
Carey Price has had more difficult nights over the last couple of weeks. There were some big moments among his 23 saves. By the end of the night he had Anze Kopitar talking to himself especially in the third period when, while lying flat on his back he got a leg up to stop Kopitar’s hot at a wide open net during a power play. Price is now 9-0 to start the season and has allowed 14 goals in 14 games – four of them against Philadelphia last week. This was his 16th consecutive home ice win dating back to April 2015 and his 12th consecutive win overall. Price’s goals against average drops to 1.56 and his save percentage remains a glittering .953.
ALSO WORTH MENTIONING
….The Canadiens are now 12-1-1 and officially own the fastest start in their history with 25 of a possible 28 points, surpassing the 1943-44 version of the team which took 24 of a possible 28 through the first 14 games.
….On the scoresheet, Radulov, Gallagher and Shaw led with three shots apiece. Emelin with four hits. Otherwise a well-balanced team effort all round.
The Canadiens face a tough weekend with two their third set of back to back games this season. Intradivisional rivals Detroit with an 8-6-1 record will play at the Bell Centre Saturday night and then the Canadiens travel to Chicago to face the Western Conference leading Blackhawks (10-3-1) on Sunday.