1-det-price-iiCarey Price has broken  a few hockey hearts over the last few years, none more than those of the Detroit Red Wings and their fans.

Price won his 8th consecutive start against the Wings dating back to January 2014. But it’s the last six that have really played on the minds of the veteran Red Wings players. In those six games, three of which went into overtime Price has allowed six goals. His goals against average in that stretch is 0.98 and his save percentage and otherworldly .964.

We run out of superlatives. The Canadiens played only one period in Detroit. The Wings, who had played the night before in New Jersey, buried them the rest of the way. Through the second, third and overtime periods the Wings outshot the Canadiens 28-14.  After facing only five first period shots, he then had to deal with 15 major Detroit scoring chances and was extraordinary on six of them especially in the third period on Henrik Zetterberg on three different occasions.

It’s the way of life with the current Canadiens who’s most valuable player is the goaltender who has started the season with a league-best 13-1-1 record and now has a 1.66 goals against average and .946 save percentage.

1-det-gallagherSHEDDING THE MONKEY

In a game in which hard work was not a Canadiens strength, there was always Brendan Gallagher. After 16 games he finally put himself on the scoresheet by hustling to the net as Tomas Plekanec took a feed from Greg Pateryn. Plekanec put the puck right into the crowd in front and Gallagher deflected it to tie the game. His first goal in a month. It was his first goal in 40 shots.

WHEN IT COUNTED

The Galchenyuk line wasn’t very noticeable for most of the night. Through the first two periods they took only two shots and neither one hit the net. But they got their chance in the overtime and made it count.

I have trouble remembering a player over the years who can deliver a saucer pass the way Alexander Radulov does. On the two-on-one that decided the game, Radulov had to airmail the puck over Jonathan Ericsson’s stick.  As we have seen so many times this season, the puck landed flat for Galchenyuk.  All he had to do was put it into the empty side of the net.

1-det-galchenyuk-winnerTOUGH GUYS

I’m not sure Shea Weber would list this game as one of his best since joining the Canadiens. He was caught out by the Wings on a couple of occasions, but between Weber and defense partner Alexei Emelin they made the Wings pay whenever they crossed into the Canadiens end. Statistically they are the NHL’s most physical pairing. In this game they compiled right hits  – six of them from Emelin – and five blocked shots.  In 21 games this season they have a combined total of 129 hits and 96 blocked shots.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….While both Gallagher and Plekanec were two of the Canadiens best forwards, that can’t be said for the third member of the line. Max Pacioretty continues to play as if his mind is on something beside hockey. In his 26 shifts he had three shots on goal.  Sorry, I can’t remember any of them.

….Weber took a bad penalty in the overtime but the penalty killers saved the night. Weber came out of the penalty box on a two-on-one break and hit the post with an open net to shoot out. Seconds later, it was Weber who started the game winning play by shoveling a Carey Price rebound ahead of Radulov. Another ‘plus’ night for Weber which makes him plus-18 on the season.

MOVING ON

Now it’s on to California where Canadiens teams have gone to die in recent years. Anaheim on Tuesday, San Jose Friday and Los Angeles on Sunday. Over the last four season the Canadiens have won two of 12 games in the Golden State. Not a pleasant thought especially coming off their effort in Detroit.