Image Credit: HockeyStats.ca
All eyes were on Mike Condon, as he continues to fill in for Carey Price, but his backup was not the same guy it has been, as Zachary Fucale lined up as the emergency option.
However, It would be another Habs call-up who made his presence felt first. Christian Thomas threw a beautiful pass right on the tape of Paul Byron's stick out front, and the veteran had no trouble redirecting it past Sergei Bobrovsky.
It really was a sublime pass by Thomas to set this one up.
That goal woke Columbus up though, and started to pour on some pressure. With just over two minutes left in the first, Nick Foligno banked a wrap-around in off Mike Condon, evening the score at one apiece.
Alexei Emelin ended up being ejected from the game for some blatant interference on Matt Calvert, which had the Canadiens killing a five minute major at the end of the first, and early in the second as well. Luckily, they were able to escape the major without taking any damage.
The Canadiens had a scare late in the second, as Tomas Fleischmann was the victim of a decidedly dirty knee thrown by Nick Foligno. To make matters worse, Nathan Beaulieu fought Foligno, took a few hard shots, and looked a little wobbled. Thankfully came out for the third and looked no worse for wear.
It took a long while, but eventually Montreal broke the tie. After P.K. Subban drew a late penalty thanks to some great puck protection in his own zone, the Habs went to the power play. On that power play, it was captain Max Pacioretty who hammered one home in the slot, ultimately winning the game for his team.
While it would have been nice to see Fucale get his first real taste of NHL action, to see that would have meant a disastrous situation for Mike Condon. Not only did the latter hold the fort, but he had to make a couple of very nice saves late in the game to preserve the one-goal win. Solid all-around performance for the Canadiens.
- P.K. Subban had a rough go in the Corsi department, but it's pretty hard to fault him for that. The Canadiens controlled just 44.4% of the even strength shot attempts when he was on the ice, but after Emelin was ejected he was barely ever not on the ice, playing nearly 30 minutes. He also drew the call that got the game winning goal, and assisted on said goal. Not too shabby.
- Though he only got a shade above 10 minutes of ice time on the night, and a favourable 75% of his starts in the offensive zone, Christian Thomas was big for the Canadiens. He was tops on the team with 66.7% Corsi at even strength, and that saucer pass to Paul Byron that opened the scoring truly was a sight to behold.
- A healthy stick tap to Dale Weise is deserved for his pass on that game-winning goal. Though it did deflect off a stick, it was probably going to Pacioretty anyways, and Weise did a great job drawing the defenders away from his linemate.
- Mike Condon didn't need to be spectacular, but he was there when he needed to be. Though it could be argued that he slid a little out of position on the Foligno goal, he settled down after that and made a number of solid saves from that point on.
- Hockeystats.ca actually had the Blue Jackets outchancing the Canadiens by a slight margin. It was a team effort at both ends. The goaltending, and defensive-zone play by both teams is what kept this game low-scoring, but it still managed to be exciting.