The Canadiens ended a five game losing streak – including three in a row at home- with a convincing 5-2 win over the New York Rangers Saturday night. The Canadiens outshot the Rangers in a big way in every period for a total of 41-22. With two goals each from Shea Weber and Artturi Lehkonen the Canadiens took a 4-0 lead before giving up two later in the second period. Tomas Tatar scored the third period’s only goal.
Weber‘s first game in a year Tuesday was very good. His second game was terrific.
He scored the game’s first two goals; the first on one of his blazing slap shots, the second off a breakaway.
The second was all-the-more impressive because he started the play by breaking up a play in front of Carey Price and then joined the rush to put himself alone in front of the Ranger goal for a top-corner wrister. When Weber shoots he hits the net; in this game five of his seven shots were on target (the other two were courageously blocked). At the other end of the ice, nobody was standing around in front of Price when Weber was on the scene.
Nobody was complaining too much about Artturi Lehknon‘s scoring drought because he has been doing a lot of the little things in the right hockey way since the start of the season. After scoring only twice in the first twenty-five games it was playing the right way that allowed him to double his total. He took the wrist shot on a 2-on-1 break with Jesperi Kotkaniemi for what turned out to be the winning goal and, after fullfilling a forechecking role he moved to the right spot when Paul Byron forced the turnover for the clincher which made it 4-0.
Speaking of playing the game the right way, that was exactly what Tomas Tatar has been doing since game one of the season. This was one of his better efforts. Playing on his 28th burthday, Tatar’s second effort pass to Weber while flat on his belly set up the game’s second goal and he was rewarded for a terrific night with his 11th goal while collecting the rebound on a Kenny Agostino shot for the Canadiens fifth and final goal.
The Canadiens placed Nikita Scherbak on waivers so Paul Byron could come back in the lineup. When your entire game isn’t there at least make sure you look after your own end of the ice. Byron showed the timing effects of missing 14 games but, playing with Kotkaniemi and Lehkonen, he took care of his defence and wound up with an assist on Lehkonen’s first goal when his forecheck forced Neal Pionk to cough up the puck for Lehkonen’s second goal. His final line read – a team-leading five hits and two blocked shots along with one shot. His timing will come.
….No reason to criticize Carey Price on either goal. The first was started by a clumsy Jeff Petry giveaway inside the Canadiens zone. The second was a power play chip shot by a wide open Ryan Strome. He was particularly good in the first period after Weber had made it 1-0. It was Price’s first win at home in exactly at month (November first). Now the question is: facing only twenty-two shots, will he play his second game in twenty-four hours vs. San Jose Sunday night?
….Brett Kulak spent the night paired with Weber and logged 20:38; all five-on-five. He seemed to gain confidence ast the game unfolded. I see no reason why they shouldn’t be together for the next game.
….I’m still liking what Kenny Agostino brings to the team. He’s solid defensively and Claude Julien is even giving him time on the second power play unit. He and Michael Chaput have brought a bit life to what was an offensive black fourth-line hole.
….Good all round night for Max Domi who shared the team lead with Weber at five shots on goal. He also was around the puck the entire game and won six of eleven faceoffs (55%). He drew second assist on Weber’s first goal.
….In all situations the Canadiens had 14 high danger scoring chances to only 5 for the Rangers. Five on five it was 9-3 for the Canadiens.
….The Canadiens have now poured 91 shots on opponents in the last two games including 49 against Carolina Tuesday night.
With the five game losing streak ended, game four of the five game home stand against San Jose Sunday night. They’ll wrap it up on Tuesday against the Senators before heading out to play the Senators, Chicago and Minnesota Tuesday, Chicago and the following Tuesday.