Thanks to a late goal by Max Pacioretty, Montreal managed to leave Vancouver with one point in the bank, which should be considered positive, considering they looked listless for the majority of the game.
Montreal's fate seemed to be sealed, after a second period goal by Nick Bonino gave Vancouver the lead, and an early wrist-shot goal by Brad Richardson doubled that lead.
However, like we've seen several times this year, the Habs have a tendency to save their best for last. Alex Galchenyuk used his top-notch hand-eye coordination to tip in a P.K. Subban point shot, which cut the lead to one. With less than three minutes left to go, a smart pass by Dale Weise that found Max Pacioretty tied it up.
Unfortunately for the visitors, another comeback was not in the cards, as Daniel Sedin scored a powerplay goal in overtime to save the win for the Canucks.
Montreal's lack of scoring chances early can be attributed to their frustrating tendency to look for the perfect play, as opposed to putting the puck on net whenever a lane opens up. This was even more evident during their powerplays, which remains scoreless on the road this year.
On a positive note, Montreal seemed to lean a little more on controlled zone entries, as opposed to dump ins, which gave them a good amount of puck possession in the offensive zone. They just didn't pull the trigger enough when they got the chance, simple as that. Montreal looked for the perfect shot almost all night long, whereas Vancouver was shooting from anywhere.
On an ugly note, we were treated to a fairly blatant head shot, by resident NHL rat Alex Burrows. The play, like many head shots, was not penalized, and is likely to go without further discipline from the league, due to the fact that Alexei Emelin eventually returned to the play. By the letter of the law, Burrows should be sitting the next few games out, but we've all watched enough hockey to know that's not realistic. To add insult to injury, the Canucks scored immediately after the head shot.
The referees may have missed the play, but the linesman had a crystal clear view of what went on.
Should a Linesman witness a foul (above) committed by an attacking player or goalkeeper (undetected by the Referees) prior to the attacking team scoring a goal, the Linesman shall report what he witnessed to the Referees, the goal shall be disallowed and the appropriate penalty assessed.
But let's stop crying over spilled milk, as we've established that the referees aren't out to get any specific team, they're just generally incompetent. Some nights you eat the bear, and some nights the bear eats you.
Alex Galchenyuk continues to display encouraging signs that you would want to see from a potential first line center. His offensive flair is far and away the most threatening tool this team has at its disposition. Of course, we already knew he was a great offensive player, it's his back-checking and physical prowess that we're seeing for the first time. He actually leads the team in hits, and has come back to shut down several offensive opportunities this season. If he continues to progress at this rate, it'll be tough to keep him off a line with Max Pacioretty.
Rene Bourque and Lars Eller both put together strong efforts, along with Brandon Prust. However, they finished the game with a -2 rating, which means most people will concentrate on that fairly irrelevant stat, instead of the fact that they were the only forwards with a positive Corsi rating last night. Coincidentally, Eller's line was finally given some offensive zone starts. If we look at the other side of the spectrum, Desharnais' line wasn't given their usually offensive zone starts, and consequentially struggled for the vast majority of the game.
The worst performance of the night was easily Alexei Emelin, although the medical staff may not be far behind, considering they allowed him to return to play. Emelin had a -15 Corsi rating, and was struggling to keep up with the play.
Last night's game may not have been pretty, but the fact of the matter is that the Canadiens came out of the last three games with half the points available to them, which considering their level of play recently, isn't bad at all.