GAME #51 – INTO THE BREAK ON A ROLL – Canadiens-2 Arizona-1 (Jan. 23, 2019)

Jan 24th, 2019 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

I suppose it’s “the glass half-empty” side of me that makes me want to first mention the fact that the Canadiens 2-1 win over Arizona Wednesday night put seven points between themselves and the seventh place Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference rather than the fact that, as they head into the All-Star break the Canadiens moved out of the wild card race and into third place in the Atlantic Division. That reaction is probably the residue of the diminished expectations for the team back in October.

With their fifth win in their last six games the Canadiens are not only two points ahead of Boston and one point behind second place Toronto in the Atlantic Division but fourth overall in the Eastern Conference a point ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

There are games in hand all around the Canadiens ibut fans can enjoy the moment for the next ten days.

WINNING UGLY

This wasn’t the smoothest of Canadiens’ efforts. They never trailed in the game but they also never really got a leg up on the Coyotes who were playing their third road game in the last four nights.

The fact that Carey Price was the game’s third star should tell you everything you need to know. There were stretches when the Canadiens were forced to defend against sustained pressure, especially early in the second period and through the game’s final ten minutes after the Canadiens had taken their 2-1 lead during which the Canadiens were outshot 9-4.

JOINING THE RUSH

One of the things most noticeable about this season’s Canadiens is the nightly participation of the defence in the five-on-five offence. Victor Mete came back from his seven game stint in Laval a changed player. He’s still looking for his first NHL goal, but his second period rush produced one of the game’s best scoring chances. And then there was Jeff Petry who in the third period carried the puck deep into the Arizona zone before sending it back to Mike Reilly for the game winning goal. The defence produced one third of the Canadiens 24 shots.

TOP BILLING

I really don’t know where to start when it comes to the night Joel Armia had. Although he wasn’t credited with a point, he played a major part in Jonathan Drouin’s first period power play goal that gave the Canadiens their 1-0 lead. There was that terrific scoring chance five minutes into the second period followed five minutes later by some brilliant penalty killing forechecking that produced his second high danger scoring chance of the night. And then, with the Coyotes trying to get their goaltender out for the extra attacker, he singlehandedly forechecked them to a standstill behind their own net. Marc Bergevin made the deal to bring him in from Winnipeg because he brings size and toughness along with speed. He had all of that against the Coyotes. Along with his three shots on goal, he dominated the game physically. No doubt he was the Canadiens best on this night.

GALCHENYUK

For a week it was all about the return of Alex Galchenyuk. The Canadiens put a nice video montage on the scoreboard and the fans gave him a nice ovation. That was basically his night. He did tie the game at 2-2 in the third period, but video review showed he created the off-side that negated the play. Until the third period he did not produce a shot on goal or even an attempted shot. He wound up with two shots.

HUDON

With Paul Byron completing his three game suspension, Charles Hudon got another chance at something other than fourth line duty to which his totally unsuited. Again he played with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Armia and for the second game in a row he was good offensively. Of his nine shooting attempts, three were on goal. He was given second assist on the Canadiens winning goal, although his contribution was sketchy. Hudon also did a fair job defensively although I wasn’t thrilled with that ‘holding-the-stick’ penalty he took midway through the second period. Sadly for Hudon, it will be back to the press box when Byron comes back after the All-Star break.

BRAIN FADE

….We’re still trying to figure out what was in Artturi Lehkonen‘s head when he decided to abandon his penalty killing assignment and head to the bench for a new stick while the Coyotes had puck possession in the Canadiens end. His departure created a five-on-three and led to Arizona’ only goal. It was just part of Lehkonen’s less than stellar night.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….Jesperi Kotkaniemi may not be dominating games yet but almost nightly there is something notable. Claude Julien used him on the first power play unit and it was Kotkaniemi lifting a stick at the goalmouth that led to Jonthan Drouin’s opening power play goal.

…..During his post game news conference Claude Julien praised the work of his video replace coaches Mario Leblanc and Eric Gravel for quickly spotting the off-side that led to the review and the overturning of Arizona’s second goal.

…..Only Phillip Danault won 10 of 19 faceoffs (53%). As a team the Canadiens were at 43%.

….The Coyotes came into the Bell Centre with six wins in the their past eight including most recently wins against Toronto and Ottawa.

MOVING ON

The Canadiens will now get eight days off before their next practice on Thursday January 31st. Their next games will be those back-to-back Super Bowl weekend afternoon games against New Jersey and Edmonton. Because Carey Price has to serve a one game suspension for missing the All-Star game, Antti Niemi will be in goal against the Devils.

One Comment to “GAME #51 – INTO THE BREAK ON A ROLL – Canadiens-2 Arizona-1 (Jan. 23, 2019)”

  1. Ned Stark, Warden of the North says:

    Pretty good recap of tonite’s low scoring game.

    However, there were some things missed…..

    Yes Kotkanemi’s work around the crease on the HABS 1st PP helped kick a loose puck out to Tatar who made a smart pass to the wide open Drouin to finish the play. The original scoring however showed the goal as unassisted. I don’t know if it changed after further review? If it didn’t does that mean we had the same officials from Sunday’s NFL game between the Rams and the Saints??

    I don’t know why you had to run down Galcheniuk down for tonite’s game. He’s Benn playing primarily on the 3rd line but spent most of the night on the top line. It was one of the Zona defensemen that mishandled the puck at the blueline causing the off side that as missed by the Rams/Saints linemen. Gally27 was in front of the net. If you were going to ride anyone maybe it should have been Mete. HABS shorthanded and to one side of Price you have Weber battling a Zona forward. Then you have Gally27 standing almost in front of Price providing a screen. Mete is in front of Gally27 by about 5′. When the shot comes through and rebounds off Price – Mete once again used poor positioning and stick work in an attempt to tie up Gally27. It was totally ineffective against the much larger forward who quickly changed position as he corralled the puck and then it was by Price in a blink of eye to tie the game. CJ’s challenge held up and the goal was over turned. During the final minutes of the game when Weber was out there it was Benn partnering with him and not Mete. I truly hope that when the HABS comeback to play on Feb 3rd that Benn is not once again out with Weber on the 1st Defense pairing.

    Armia was an absolute stud tonite along the boards during his shifts tonite forechecking the Yotes. He made a great steal inside their blueline and turned it into a typical Lekhonen scoring chance by not getting a goal on the play. He and K2 did a great job in the Yotes end tying up their players and the puck deep in their end.

    Drouin: yes he scored a gimmee goal tonite on a wide open chance. Other than that he did nothing all night but trying to pass the puck to someone. Other than the goal he scored on the PP I only saw him attempt one other shot that was blocked by the defensemen. His coverage in our end brings back fond memories of our Selke Award winner for several years -> DD. Oh that’s right he was a crap defender too! Late in the game Drouin in was out there like Max67 used to be……the team up a goal or more, the other teams net empty and time to pad the score totals. The HABS got caught and the Yotes got the puck deep into theHabs end to the right of Price. Weber was in on the boards with one of their guys. Benn wanting to know what was going on skated over there too leaving no HABS out front to help Price. Ok, there was one guy……Johnny Drouin who was just inside our blueline covering no one started slowly skating deeper into our end. He passed a Yotes player in the slot without giving the guy a look. By that time the puck had come out and Price was covering it with several players milling around from both teams…….and then Drouin skated into the middle of it trying to make like he had a big part in that struggle. I’m sorry but this Cherry Picker is trash –>> time to bring back Sergatchev!!

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