Considering the current state of his game, do you think Carey Price would have been the winning goaltender Tuesday night against Las Vegas?
Charlie Lindgren won this game, although whoever selects the game stars apparently thought that David Perron and Jordie Benn made a bigger contribution.
The Canadiens caught Vegas on the sixth game of a road trip and on the second of back-to-back games, took a 2-0 first period lead and held it the rest of the way.
But there was drama. Plenty of it, mainly because midway through the game the Canadiens stopped skating and Vegas with an already established reputation for never quitting in a game, took over.
From the middle of the third period Vegas outshot the Canadiens 27-10 and Lindgren stopped 26 of them including the save of the night on James Neal with 40 seconds remaining and the Vegas net empty. Lindgren has now played 5 games in the NHL faced 156 shots and stopped 149 of them. That adds up to a .955 save% and a 1.20GAA.
What goaltender controversy, you say?
TO THE CLINIC
The Canadiens lost Jonathan Drouin for the third period with an as yet undisclosed injury. Nobody’s sure when it happened but it’s suspected to be a hand injury of some sort.. He and his left winger Alex Galchenyuk were having another excellent game. With Drouin gone, Claude Julien got the Galchenyuk fans excited by moving him to centre a makeshift line with Lehkonen and Byron but don’t get your hopes up. In his post game comments Julien said “I still see him as a winger.”
Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw have been the Canadiens best right wingers through their recent streak which has seen the Canadens win 6 of 8 to climb to within a game of .500 for the season (7-8-1). Gallagher seems to be the perfect fit for Tomas Plekanec who won an icing race to set up Gallagher for the game’s first goal. Gallagher now has ten points in his last eight games including six goals.
Same thing with Shaw was has been playing like a 6’4” 230 lb. power forward on the forecheck. He picked up his eighth point the last five games on the Pacioretty game winning goal.
The Canadiens keep winning despite a mixed-and-matched defense that seems to be Shea Weber backed by the Hole-in-the Wall Gang. Victor Mete was on the ice with Weber for only 3:55. Weber spent a large part of the game with Jordie Benn. He made Benn look good enough that somebody thought he deserved the game’s second star. Weber also played a couple of shifts with Karl Alzner and Joe Morrow.
As to Mete; from the mid point of the game he was on the ice for 1:46 and two shifts after he committed at the wrong time offensively and allowed William Carrier’s breakaway. Torrey Mitchell could shoulder part of the blame as well. Fortunately Lindgren calmly handled Carrier’s shot. Mete’s ice time has gone down incrementally through the last four games to a season low 8:00 in this game. We’re still a couple of weeks away from David Schlemko coming into the lineup. At that point, there’ll be a decision to make.
Charles Hudon was the bright spot of the Canadiens third period. Coming back after missing the game in Chicago, Hudon drew the second assist on Jordie Benn’s first period goal but, playing with Mike McCarron and Torrey Mitchell, he had been pretty much invisible offensively through two periods and just over seven on-ice minutes. With Drouin out, Hudon was moved up to play with Plekanec and Gallagher. He had six third period shifts, five shots on goal four of which were major scoring chances. Hudon seems wasted on the fourth line but, the way the other left wingers are playing, it’s hard to imagine him moving up the depth chart, unless of course the Drouin injury shakes things up.
….Hudon’s five shots on goal were the most by the Canadiens in the game. Gallagher and Pacioretty had four each.
….Pacioretty also played a physical role. His team leading four hits were significant ones.
….Benn blocked five shots and the combination of Benn and Weber got in the way of eight total
MOVING ON –
The Canadiens have a chance to be a .500 hockey team on Thursday when they face the Minnesota Wild at the Bell Centre, the second of six consecutive games at the Bell Centre. Buffalo is in Montreal on Saturday night.