NAILBITER – Canadiens-3 Columbus-1 (Nov. 27, 2017)

Nov 27th, 2017 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

Two goal leads present a big problem for any trailing team in the National Hockey League. It means the team trying to mount a comeback has to score three times to win the game. The Canadiens got their 2-0 lead before the game was nine minutes old and then spent the rest of the night protecting it.

This is one of those games where one has to go deep into the analytics to figure out what happened Monday night against Columbus.

The Blue Jackets outshot the Canadiens 32-17 in the game’s final two periods.  That is the most basic of statistics.

The Corsi puck-possession numbers showed Columbus with the puck 55.2% of the time in the second period and 69.% in the third and yet the Canadiens won the game. So how did they do it?

The difference seems to be rooted in scoring chances.

According to naturalstattrickcom, the scoring chances through the final 40 minutes were 13-10 for the Blue Jackets and the high danger chances were 6-5 also for Columbus which seems to indicate that despite the wide Columbus territorial advantage, the two goaltenders had to be almost equally good.  It’s still a lot more Grade A chances that coaches would like to see, but at one end of the ice we had this season’s leading goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky and at the other end the one who is trying to re-establish his reputation as the world’s best at the position.

STANDING TALL

Brendan Gallagher scored an unassisted goal at 3.11 on the game’s first shot, one that Bobrovsky should have handled easily. A minute and a half later Carey Price made a brilliant save on Nick Foligno to get his night started. The Canadiens second shot also beat Bobrovsky on a power play and the rest of the game was dominated by Price and Bobrovsky.

All things said, Price was the better goaltender in this game, something we haven’t said very often this season. 120 minutes of hockey since his return Price has stopped 72 of 73 shots.

HELPING OUT

Coaches always like to say that when a team suffers key injuries, others have to step up. Jeff Petry, who had a miserable first quarter of the season was the one to elevate his game when Shea Weber went out with that lower body injury four games ago. Petry had his third straight dominant night and Julien was fully aware, giving him 29:05 ice time. Not only has Petry’s game returned to a high level, but his partner Karl Alzner has come along for the ride. Alzner was on the ice for 25:22. Together they combined for nine hits and did a terrific job in front of Price.

THE SUPPORTING CAST

Over the last seven or eight games we’ve seen improvement from almost every other member of the defense.

Joe Morrow’s collision with Price at the goalmouth led to the only Columbus goal but otherwise his play has been fairly steady recently. His partner Jordie Benn doesn’t look as confused as he did early in the season. He blocked six shots .

For the third straight game Jakub Jerabek looked like he belonged and that hip check he threw into Josh Anderson in the third period was a game highlight.

Julien continues to manage Victor Mete’s ice time closely. 6:11 in this game.

UP FRONT

The grinders, Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw really stood out in this game.

I guess I can put Gallagher in the grinder category despite the fact that he leads the team with 10 goals. He opened the scoring and led the Canadiens with six shots on goal. Considering how effective the line has been, I expect both Plekanec and Hudon are going to start to pick up some points as well. Point of interest: with his 10th goal Gallagher equaled his entire output from last season.

And Andrew Shaw spent the entire night in Bobrovsky’s wheelhouse. He was parked in front of the net when Jonathan Drouin scored what turned out to be the game winning goal.

ALSO WORTH NOTING –

….Max Pacioretty is clearly back in one of his funks. Three shots on goal, non-dangerous. He picked up his first point in 7 games but that was on the empty net goal.

….We’re beginning to see why Julien liked Nicholas Deslauriers enough to have him promoted from Laval ahead of Daniel Carr. He had two good scoring chances. His centre Jacob de la Rose also did what was expected of him.

….Tomas Plekanec won 15 of 22 faceoffs – 68%. Drouin won 2-of-8.

MOVING ON

A successful week ahead could put the Canadiens right back in the playoff picture. They play Ottawa at home Wednesday and then back to back against Detroit Friday and Saturday. Right now the Canadiens trail Red Wings and third place in the Atlantic Divison by only two points.

One Comment to “NAILBITER – Canadiens-3 Columbus-1 (Nov. 27, 2017)”

  1. Ian London says:

    I hope Molson is smart enough to know that this little upswing has nothing to do with MB and that he still needs to go before he does something stupid. We still need atleast one good puck moving D-man and a true top 6 forward. MB is not capable of making that trade where it doesn’t cost us trading away someone of equal value.

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