For our new readers and members, the Top Six Minutes is a continuation of the discussion in the game thread. We try to keep it light and entertaining. Full recaps are up the morning after every game.
- Michel Therrien elects to go with Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher to start the game. They give up a couple of shot attempts, but this is a combination Michel Therrien will probably stick with as long as possible, as he, along with the rest of us, want nothing more than those three to get going.
- It’s easy to tell which team is hot and which team is not five minutes into the game. Carolina is dominating the possession with 86% of the shot attempts (5-1 CF).
- The most exciting part of this game so far is when they showed Andrew Shaw’s dog licking his mustache. It might be a looooong night.
- The Habs can’t wake up and seem in a perpetual snooze-mode by the ten minute mark. They can’t sustain an attack, and after getting foiled in the offensive zone upon entering once again, the Hurricanes flip the puck up the ice on transition. Elias Lindholm receives the pass with speed and rushes in on a sharp angle and fires a bouncing puck into the top right corner, beating Carey Price to put the visitors up 1-0.
- The goal may have woken up the Habs. Moments later Charles Hudon drives the puck deep into the Hurricanes’ zone, protecting the puck and centering it to Andrew Shaw who was waiting in the blue paint to push it home past Cam Ward to tie the game 1-1.
- The Habs kill a penalty, something they’ve been hit or miss at lately, having slipped all the way to 15th in the league in penalty killing efficiency with an 81.8 percent success rate.
- Now the powerplay, that’s something the Canadiens are very good at. With just under four minutes the left, the Habs go to the man-advantage. Both powerplay units come at the Canes in waves, but are unable to convert as the Hurricanes penalty kill has been excellent this season, ranked first in the NHL with a 91.8 percent penalty kill efficiency.
- The Habs are flat to start the second period, not recording their first shot attempt until nearly five minutes in (4:48). Constantly defending is not a way to win games, but it’s still 1-1 despite the Canadiens’ being outplayed to this point.
- Maybe instead of criticizing the Habs’ inability to get anything going it would be more fair to point out how great Carolina’s defense has been tonight. They’ve limited the Canadiens to just one shot in the first ten minutes of the period on a total of only four shot attempts.
- But as a fan of the Canadiens... and hockey... this game is really boring. If I wanted to introduce someone to hockey for the first time, I wouldn’t show them this game. I would actually burn the tape and make sure they or no one else ever had to watch it again.
- The Habs getting flattened by the Carolina defense. Not in a physical sense, but a tactical one. Held to only seven shot attempts in nineteen minutes, it’s not for a lack of effort but a lack of effective direction that is causing them to struggle in this game.
- In the final minute of the period, the Habs explode with a flurry of shots and intensity, driven by Alex Galchenyuk and company. The three-shot flurry doesn’t end with a goal, but is hopefully a sign of things to come in the third period.
- Michel Therrien starts his second line to begin the third period and is pays off. Tomas Plekanec fires a shot of the endboards which deflects to Max Pacioretty at the side of the net who slips the puck over Cam Ward’s pad and just over the line. The Hurricanes challenge the play for a missed offside, but the call on the ices stands.
- Alex Radulov draws a tripping penalty, sending the Habs to another powerplay. Cam Ward makes some amazing saves to keep his team in the game, robbing Andrew Shaw on a one-timer from the slot then Shea Weber on a high-velocity slap shot that had top corner written all over it.
- Carey Price makes a big save with thirteen minutes left in the period as Jordan Staal manages to break through the defense for a partial breakaway and get away a shot that Price swallows up in his jersey, stopping the play.
- Tomas Plekanec is sent off for slashing with ten minutes left in the third. The Canadiens’ penalty kill does its thing, keeping the Hurricanes from getting a shot on net.
- Cam Ward has been a star of the game, and makes another great save to keep his team in it, this time on Alex Galchenyuk who broke in on a two-on-one with Alex Radulov who sent him the pass only to be stopped by Ward’s pad.
- There’s been more excitement in the final five minutes of the game than in the first fifty-five condensed into a million different versions of itself. I actually felt my brain change gears as the Hurricanes come close to tying it in the dying seconds, but in the end the Canadiens come away with the win, and even though it won’t be a game to remember, that’s what counts.
EOTP 3 Stars
Guess they should have upped it from a two-hour dose.
Give the ice time to the guys who haven’t done their part in the game yet, in my opinion.
Well, after the first 40 minutes, that’s all you could really ask for.
Habs Highlight of the night:
Charles Hudon finds Andrew Shaw with a nifty pass