This game did not start out well. From the first puck drop, Dallas was
controlling dominating the play. Based on the EOTP thread, I feel comfortable saying that we all expected a loss. Not halfway through the first frame, Jamie Benn snapped one through Carey Price during some brutal zone play by the Habs, putting the Stars up by one. However, Max Pacioretty could not abide the one goal deficit, taking a sweet feed from P.K Subban and burying to knot the score at one.
Subban's vision on the Pacioretty goal was such greatness that it forces me to give pause to praise him. Those who were on the game thread with me noted the same. I hope that this play, and the countless other plays we've seen from him, give cause to all my fellow Canadians to proclaim him as an anointed member of Team Canada in Sochi. He's more than earned his spot.
In the second frame, we saw a much better iteration of the Canadiens than that of the first. It started with P.K. Subban forcing his way through the Dallas zone to gift one to David Desharnais, giving the Habs a one goal lead. Then, we got to enjoy both Ryan White and Travis Moen displaying their pugilistic skills in quick succession. The more entertaining of the two being Travis Moen pounding Antoine Roussel into submission. Valeri Nichushkin then got a penalty shot, on which he capitalized to draw the score back to a tie.
P.K. Subban just couldn't take any of this, and decided to take matters into his own hands. Not long after the Penalty Shot goal, he took control of the puck deep in the Stars zone, walked out, and wristed one past Kari Lehtonen to make the score 3-2. Subban is a boss and more people around the league need to realize what he is, and how good he is at it. He did everything last night and deserves the utmost recognition, not just for his play on the blueline, but specifically for his work in the offensive zone. Subban is without a doubt the best blueliner we've seen since Larry Robinson. I stand behind that last statement as being my own, and I will defend it to death.
But, Dallas didn't want to let this one go. Brendan Gallagher backhanded a rebound off a Pacioretty shot to give the Habs a two goal lead, but it was irrelevant to the boys in god-awful-green. Two quick goals from Tyler Seguin and Brenden Dillon tied the score at four apiece and those of us on the game thread began to panic on a level that only Habs fans can fathom. I was literally seconds from shutting my laptop and conceding defeat to the Stars, whilst turning to the bottle for comfort.
But, I didn't. I literally scared the shit out of my neighbour last night. I was having a smoke and watching the game on my laptop, when Lars Eller went beast mode and regained the lead for the CH. I exploded with glee and let out an extremely loud cry that caused her to jump and drop her gardening shears. I live in British Columbia, so it is not out of the ordinary for someone to be gardening at the time of the goal. Then, Max Pacioretty sealed the deal with an empty netter, closing the door on a game I felt we should have lost.
At the time of writing this article, Extra Skater is still telling me to check back soon for results. I feel pretty confident in telling you that the results were not good for our side. The second and third periods were much better than the first, but overall it was apparent to me that the Stars were the dominant possession club. That being said, this was one of the better games put forth by the CH in recent memory and I'm not adverse to saying it was a good game in hindsight.
Carey Price was phenomenal in this game. While it might sound odd to credit a goaltender in a game where he allowed four goals, this is the exception to the rule. We can also be thankful that we have P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty, and Brendan Gallagher on this team. They all had excellent outings last night if you ask me.
Subban in particular has earned some words on his awesome self. The Habs lose this game if not for him. While lately it has been Carey Price winning games, Subban stepped up and guaranteed a win by himself. Subban being left home by Canada for Sochi would be a bigger mistake than not letting Gretzky shoot in the 1998 shootout. He is astounding, and he is the best defender in the entire world, never mind Canada.
All told, this was a much better game from the Canadiens. I can pick out some problems, but I'd rather call it a good overall effort, and an exciting game that I very much enjoyed. I hope that this game is a stepping stone from which the Canadiens build more and more convincing efforts, as this was a good team they beat on the road.
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