GAME #8 – Closer Than It Should Have Been- Canadiens-3 Calgary-2 (Oct. 23, 2018)

Oct 24th, 2018 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

For a number of reasons this game was a lot closer than it had any right to be. That new puck moving style overwhelmed the Flames from the opening puck drop.

Still, thanks to a hot Calgary goaltender in David Rettich it wasn’t until a late second period power play that the Canadiens finally reached the scoreboard. Shots on goal at the time favoured the Canadiens 28-11.

The Canadiens scored three goals in 2:32 late in the second period and then shut it down for the night.

And I mean they shut it down. In the third period they did absolutely nothing offensively and Calgary scored to turn a lopsided territorial game into a nail biter.  Makes one wonder if that high-tempo game the Canadiens are playing can be sustained by them for a full sixty minutes.  My guess the problem is a team mental issue more than a physical one.

THE GOOD VERSION

It’s been Jekyll and Hyde with Jonathan Drouin this season.

Fortunately we’re seeing signs that the good version is showing up more often than the one we saw in Ottawa Saturday night. The good version is creative and avoids his tendency to try to do to much on his own. He was all of those things in a two-point night including his third goal of the season.

STABILITY

When was the last time that the Canadiens went this long without breaking up at least one of their top three lines?

This was a night for Max Domi and linemates Drouin and Lehkonen to shine.

Domi, who seems to really like playing centre had a terrific game which included two assists both of them on the power play.

What really made me sit up and take notice was that shift in the game’s final two minutes when Domi singlehandedly pinned Calgary back in their own end for almost a minute while they were trying to get Rettich off the ice for the extra attacker.

Lehkonen’s aggression gave him two excellent scoring chances. Eventually he has to score goals doesn’t he?

MAN ADVANTAGE

Two power play goals in a span of 1:49. Drouin set up Petry and then it was Petry to Gallagher.

Earlier I thought there was too much standing around during the man advantage, especially Drouin. Now he’s moving, creating new angles and forcing the defense and goaltender to move which ultimately creates openings. Five straight game with a power play goal now.

Penalty killing hasn’t been one of the Canadiens strengths but Calgary’s power play was 0-for-5. The Canadiens had given up five PPG’s the previous four games.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….After eight games the Canadiens are 5-1-2 and in first place in the Atlantic Division as of Wednesday morning.   Who predicted that?

….Don’t consider it a trend but the Canadiens were actually on the positive side in the faceoff department winning 54% (30 of 56). Danault won 65% and Domi 60%.

….Karl Alzner was again a healthy scratch. Victor Mete was a marked improvement on the third pairing with Xavier Ouellet.

….Speaking of Ouellet. He logged 15:47 third-pairing minutes. The more I see of him the more I like, especially in his current role. He made an alert and aggressive play at the Calgary blueline to set up Drouin for what turned out to be the winning goal. So far he hasn’t played like the defenceman whose contract the Red Wings bought out in June.

….The Kotkaniemi moment in the game was that slick backhanded pass under checking to set up Joel Armia. Won’t be long now he’ll start hitting the scoreboard with regularity.

….Carey Price tied Patrick Roy on the all-time Canadiens list with 289 victories. He needs 26 to pass Jacques Plante‘s all-time lead.

….Brendan Gallagher led the Canadiens with seven shots on goal and scored his team-leading fifth goal.  Mike Reilly posted six shots.

….The Canadiens outshot Calgary 40-23. Among the forwards only Peca and Deslaurier failed to register a shot.

MOVING ON

On the road again. Buffalo Thursday night and then into Boston to renew the rivalry on Saturday night. They’ll be home to face Dallas, Washington and Tampa Bay next week.

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