Carey Price had to work to get his 300th career NHL victory. The Canadiens were playing their third game in four nights with travel between and it showed. By the midway point of the first period their legs started to go. Arizona dominated the final 50 minutes of the game, but in turn, Price dominated the the Coyotes stopping 36 of 37 shots.
IN FULL FORM
Back in mid-November with Price sitting on a 3.07 GAA and an .892 save%, Claude Julien elected to sit him out for consecutive games. Those two games-off will go down as the turning point for Price’s season. Including his relief appearance in the Minnesota game, Price has now been in thirteen consecutive games. Of the 12 starts he’s allowed two goals or fewer seven times. It was inevitable it would come to the point where he would literally steal a game. This was the night. Ten of the 37 Arizona shots in this game were considered high danger scoring chances. He stopped all but one of them.
Give the Canadiens some credit for showing grit. They were clearly out of gas ten minutes into the game. Arizona may not be cream of the crop but they have some good players that might have and maybe should have put the game away. But, even though they lost their legs early, the continued to compete especially in the final 17 minutes after Paul Byron provided them with their one-goal lead.
Claude Julien switched around his lines after the loss in Denver Wednesday night. He moved Paul Byron up to join Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw. As a unit they were the Canadiens best. We have learned not to expect a great deal of offense from Danault but his backhand goalmouth pass to Byron for his tap-in game winner couldn’t have been better.
The Canadiens gave up only one goal. That’s the bottom line.
Jeff Petry led the way. His assist on Weber‘s power play goal was his tenth point in his last ten games. He played only 11 fewer seconds than Weber’s 24:42 which says a lot about how much faith Julien has in him. What a bonus to have Petry and Weber anchoring the Canadiens first two pairings.
David Schlemko gave the puck away three times in the game’s first ten minutes. After that he sucked it up. I thought he was more effective through the final half of the game.
Schlemkos defence partner was Victor Mete. Mete had another good night especially in the first period when his speed allowed him to come back to check Mario Kempe on a breakaway after one of Schlemko’s turnovers.
DOMI VS. GALCHENYUK
There was the usual amount of pre-game attention on the principals of last July’s trade. Domi missed a chance to score into the empty net and missed. Price at one point had to make a toe save on Galchenyuk. Each was on the ice for his team’s power play goal but there wasn’t much else to write about. Galchenyuk has now gone fifteen games without a goal. Domi is in a six game drought.
….After going 0-for-25 the Canadiens power play has now scored on two of it’s last seven opportunities.
….Brendan Gallagher had a team-leading five shots on goal. Jordie Benn with eight hits. Schlemko had five.
….The Canadiens won 50% of the faceoffs with Danault winning 10 of 18 – 56%.
On to Las Vegas for Saturday afternoon (4:00pm our time). We won’t be seeing Max Pacioretty who is on injury reserve after being hurt in a game Monday. With the Christmas break looming, Price will probably get another start. After a five day break, the road trip resumes at Florida December 28th.