Los Angeles scored on the game’s first shot on goal and Kings backup goaltender Jack Campbell recorded his first career shutout in a 3-0 Kings victory. The Canadiens, who trailed 2-0 five minutes into the game, outshot the Kings 40-29.
Jeff Carter led Los Angeles with a goal and two assists.
BLAME IT ON THE CEREMONY?
In his postgame news conference Claude Julien said “We were not on top of our game and it showed.”
After that long pre-game ceremony, the Canadiens never got into it, certainly not in the first five minutes where they found themselves down 2-0 against a veteran team that knows how to protect a lead. For a team that at the best of times has trouble scoring goals, it was simply too steep a hill to climb..
It wasn’t that the Canadiens failed to turn up. I thought they worked hard. Simply put, they were out of synch. Their quickness of execution wasn’t there. Passes were not hitting the tape. Not a lot of net presence, although the Kings might have had a lot to do with that.
Hard to pick on anyone but it was particularly tough night for Phillip Danault who, along with never finding a comfortable gear, turned over the puck all night and wound up winning just one of 13 faceoffs.
Jonathan Drouin was better than we saw in the first two games, but we’re still not getting enough out of him. He still has no real presence in the offensive zone, which is not a good thing.
It was the Bell Centre debut for the rookie and he was good again. Kotkaniemi was the best Canadiens centre. He led the team with five shots on goal. Again he made intelligent plays. There was a shift midway through the second period where gave himself two scoring chances in a 10 second span that might have turned the game. And, for the second game in a row he won more faceoffs than he lost – 6 of 11.
Noah Juulsen was named the third star of the game. That was based on his game-high seven hits. He also blocked three shots and he gave the team a steady presence back there. Mike Reilly had a rare shorthanded breakaway in the first period. By far, the Reilly/Juulsen pairing was the Canadiens best.
After two pretty good outings, Jordie Benn had a rough night.
We all know on most nights if Carey Price lets in more than two goals odds are the Canadiens offense isn’t going to be able to let him off-the-hook. As it was, one goal was enough for the Kings.
I thought Carey could have stopped the game’s opening goal. After that he was very good. The second goal was the result of a total screwup behind the net that led to a quick out. Price still hasn’t seen the Carter goal.
….Was it really necessary for the game officials to put everyone through that long NO GOAL, GOAL, NO GOAL delay in the third period? It was clear that Andrew Shaw touched the goaltender from the outside. Why was it necessary to go through two full reviews in order to come to that conclusion?
Useless statistic from the analytics crowd – Canadiens dominated the Corsi numbers 62.22% to 37.78. More indicative of the way the game went; the Kings had 12 high danger scoring chances to the Canadiens 7.
….Paul Byron seems determined to earn his new contract right from the git-go. Not only was he second on the team with four shots on goal, he was also second to Juulsen with six hits.
….Mike Reilly led the Canadiens in ice time again at 23:52. Second was Petry at 21:00. Top forward in ice time was Tomas Tatar at 19:38 including 5:00 on the power play.
The Canadiens will face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second time in a week on Saturday night at the Bell Centre. We might see Tomas Plekanec play in his 999th career regular season game in that one. Or maybe Nikita Scherbak, who is rumoured to be on the trade block.
After that it’s home games against Detroit and St. Louis Monday and Wednesday before heading to Ottawa a week Saturday.