That old ‘first-goal magic’ failed to work for the Canadiens in the opening game of their seven goal road trip as they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Michael Cammalleri scored on a power play Midway through the first period but the Avalanche scored a power play goal of their own with six seconds left to tie the game. Alexandre Picard gave the Canadiens a shortlived 2-1 lead in the second period. Kevin Porter retied the game 1:03 later and the game winner came from T.J. Galiardi at 16:12. The desperate Canadiens outshot the Avalanche 14-5 in the third period but couldn’t beat goaltender Craig Anderson. For the Avalanche, it was the sixth win in a row. The Canadiens have now dropped four of the last five. The Habs move on to Dallas to play the Stars Tuesday night in game two of the road trip.

Summing It Up – Most of us wondered what would happen to the Canadiens in the month December when they would be forced to play ten of fifteen games on the road. After four losses the last five games, are we getting our answer or was this loss to a very hot team simply a bump on the road? Remember last year’s Christmas road trip which started with a loss and ended with six straight victories? Carey Price would like to have the second goal back but he also kept the game from getting out of hand and that’s about all you can ask. Really bad night for Andrei Kostitsyn. P.K. Subban continues to go through his growing pains. On the up side, the hockey gods could have smiled a little more on the Canadiens in the third period. They dominated territorially and on the shot clock (14-5) but couldn’t get it past Craig Anderson. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you’re slumping and there’s little question the Canadiens are slumping. Good games from Lapierre, Darche (especially in the third period), Gomez and Pacioretty (who already seem to have some chemistry) and Roman Hamrlik on defence. So….it’s on to Dallas and then Carolina and then some Christmas turkey.

How It Went

The First Period

The Opener – At 10:40 Phillipe Dupuis went off for high sticking. And it took Tomas Plekanec just ten seconds to whip a goalmouth pass to Michael Cammalleri who one timed it from the hash marks to make it 1-0.

Coming Back – In a give and take period the Avalanche got their chance when Kostitsyn made a soft effort to clear the puck which forced Jaroslav Spacek to take a hooking penalty at 18:03. With 5.5 seconds remaining in the period Ryan Wilson scored on a screen shot and it was 1-1 at the end of the first. Shots on goal 8-7 for Colorado.

The Second Period-

Two-for-Two – The Canadiens were back on the power play with Brandon Yip off for interfering with Max Pacioretty at 1:28. With thirty seconds remaining Scott Gomez drifted a 40 foot shot that Anderson was unable to control. Alexandre Picard, who had pinched in from the point put it past him and the Canadiens had their second lead of the game. The Canadiens had scored on both opportuniites with the man advantage.

Giving It Right Back – 1:03 later Dupuis intercepted a bad pass and fed Kevin Porter cross-ice. Porter had a step on the Picard and was able to cut in front and stuff the puck, on a backhand, under the pads of Carey Price to make it 2-2. Not one of Price’s better moments.

Back on the Job – In the eighth minute of the period after Jaroslav Spacek pinched on a play in the Colorado end and Kostitsyn failed to back him up at the point. Price was faced with a two-on-one the other way and made an outstanding save on Dupuis.

Still On the Job- Price again in the 16th minute. This time it was his big glove on a hard wrist shot by TJ Galiardi from thirty feet.

Blown Lead – Less than a minute later the Avalanche, in full crash mode, piled in on Price and the defense pair of Subban and Picard. It started with Subban failing to clear the puck and finished at the goalmouth with Galiardi collecting the rebound from the O’Reilly shot It was reviewed and cleared. And the Canadiens trailed 3-2 after two periods. Shots on goal in the second 15-8 for Colorado.

The Third Period –

Setting The Tone – An excellent opening shift from the Plekanec line, or at least two-thirds of it.

Pacioretty Checks In – The second shift was all Max Pacioretty. Playing with Gomez and Gionta, Pacioretty forced a turnover with a hit on Hunwick. Ripped shot on goal and paved the way for a second shot by Gomez, all in a 22 second span.

Frustrated – By the 8:30 mark of the period the Canadiens were outshooting the Avalanche 7-2 and had nothing to show. At one point the Avalanche, under Canadiens pressure, were unable to make a line change for 2:07 after the were forced to ice the puck twice.

Juggled– In effort to get something on the board, Jacques Martin benched Andrei Kostitsyn for the last half of the period and split up his defense pairings. Subban played the last part of the game with Hal Gill and Josh Gorges went with Picard.

In Your Face. – Mathieu Darche picked up the Kostitsyn minutes with Plekanec and Cammalleri and became Colorado goaltender Craig Anderson’s worst nightmare. He was firmly planted in front of him through two Canadiens power plays and three other shifts. As the horn sounded to end the game, Anderson slashed Darche across the ankles and was penalized. Final score Colorado-3 Canadiens-2. Shots on goal in the third period 14-5 for Montreal.

The Goalscorers – Colorado – Wilson (2nd) PPG (O’Reilly-Anderson); Porter (7th) (Dupuis); Galiardi (5th) (O’Reilly-Holos); Montreal – Cammalleri (12th) PPG (Plekanec-Kostitsyn); Picard (2nd) PPG (Pacioretty-Gomez)

Shots on Goal – Montreal 7-8-14 =29 Colorado 8-15-5 =28

The Three Stars – First – Ryan O’Reilly (2 assists – plus 1) Second – Craig Anderson (stopped 26 of 28 shots – 1 assist) Third – Michael Cammalleri (1 goal – 5 shots)

The Fenwick/Corsi Numbers

Game Number Team Player Goals Saved shots Missed Shots Fenwick+/- Blocked Shots Corsi+/-
20487 MTL 6 – D – SPACEK, JAROSLAV 0 0 4 8 4 2 -2 5 3 0
20487 MTL 11 – C – GOMEZ, SCOTT 0 1 7 6 4 0 4 5 5 4
20487 MTL 13 – L – CAMMALLERI, MICHAEL 0 0 6 12 3 3 -6 4 3 -5
20487 MTL 14 – C – PLEKANEC, TOMAS 0 0 6 9 3 2 -2 3 2 -1
20487 MTL 15 – C – HALPERN, JEFF 0 1 1 1 2 2 -1 2 3 -2
20487 MTL 21 – R – GIONTA, BRIAN 0 0 7 6 5 0 6 4 5 5
20487 MTL 26 – D – GORGES, JOSH 0 0 9 8 3 1 3 2 3 2
20487 MTL 31 – G – PRICE, CAREY 0 2 19 21 12 4 4 16 11 9
20487 MTL 32 – L – MOEN, TRAVIS 0 2 1 0 1 1 -1 1 2 -2
20487 MTL 40 – C – LAPIERRE, MAXIM 0 0 7 7 3 2 1 8 1 8
20487 MTL 44 – D – HAMRLIK, ROMAN 0 0 4 9 4 2 -3 7 3 1
20487 MTL 45 – D – PICARD, ALEXANDRE 0 2 9 4 6 1 8 4 1 11
20487 MTL 46 – L – KOSTITSYN, ANDREI 0 0 3 7 2 1 -3 1 2 -4
20487 MTL 52 – L – DARCHE, MATHIEU 0 0 6 5 4 0 5 8 2 11
20487 MTL 57 – L – POULIOT, BENOIT 0 2 2 2 1 1 -2 1 2 -3
20487 MTL 67 – L – PACIORETTY, MAX 0 0 6 3 5 0 8 5 5 8
20487 MTL 75 – D – GILL, HAL 0 0 6 9 3 1 -1 6 7 -2
20487 MTL 76 – D – SUBBAN, P.K. 0 2 6 4 4 1 3 8 5 6
20487 MTL 81 – C – ELLER, LARS 0 0 5 5 3 0 3 6 1 8