When you have Carey Price on your side, you win games you have no business winning and this game was no different. It didn’t look pretty, but in the end, the Montreal Canadiens are 9-0-1, setting a new franchise record for points in the team’s 10 games of the season.
The game didn’t start that badly. For the first eight or so minutes, the Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks traded scoring chances and offensive zone time.
Then, the Habs went over eight minutes without a shot on goal, and from the nine minute mark of the first to the seven minute mark of the second period, the Canucks outshot Montreal 18-1.
If it weren’t for Carey Price, the game could have gotten out of hand. Even though there weren’t many great scoring chances for the Canucks (according to HockeyStats.ca, they were 4-3 Vancouver after the first period), letting a team dominate possession for almost an entire period is not a great strategy. Nor a sustainable one.
The lack of shots by the Canadiens was even more remarkable by the fact that the Canadiens had two powerplays in the period.
In the second period, it wasn’t a great start for the Canadiens. There were three penalties in the first 9:10, two by the Habs and Vancouver had the first nine shots of the period, including a key save by Price on Sven Baertschi who was alone in the slot.
A few minutes later, the Canadiens did what they do best - counter punch. With the Canucks pressing, Alex Galchenyuk took the puck in the defensive zone, passed it to Brendan Gallagher who took the shot and the rebound went to Nathan Beaulieu who made no mistake.
After some more pressure by the Canucks, an eerily similar goal to put the Habs up 2-0 in the final minute of the second period. Despite being outshot 17-11 in the frame, the Canadiens had the lead.
Brian Flynn got the puck in the defensive zone, and led Phillip Danault on a two-on-one. He found a wide-open Torrey Mitchell who made no mistake. It was Mitchell’s team-leading fifth goal of the year.
In the third period, Price stood tall against the 12 shots the Canucks had, including a power play and a bit of time with the goaltender pulled. The thing about Price though is he makes everything look so easy that nothing really stood out. There was no crazy glove save like he had against Toronto. He was just so solid.
The one that did stick out was this save on Loui Eriksson.
Later, Eriksson had another chance.
It... didn’t go so well for Eriksson, and Price didn’t even have to make the save this time
Price uses Jedi powers to destroy Eriksson's stick.— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) November 3, 2016
It is very effective. pic.twitter.com/hvaMH9cgAx
Late in the period with the goaltender pulled, Alexander Radulov was sprung in the offensive zone, and he was slashed by Alexander Edler before he could get to the puck. The referee ruled that after the penalty, Edler pushed the net off the moorings intentionally and ruled it a goal.
- When I was at the game on Saturday, one player who stuck out for all the right reasons was Phillip Danault. He has deceptive speed and can create scoring chances and that was exactly what he did for the second Habs goal. He pulled away and really adds to this team.
- The shots were 42-21, but in reality it never felt like complete domination, except for the stretch that the Habs could not get any shots on net. The scoring chances were 15-12 at even strength (23-13 overall). It was not pretty and it was not the Canadiens best game, but even they admitted it afterwards and that’s a positive sign, especially when you still get the two points.
- I’m not sure what we did to deserve Carey Price but yay.