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Canadiens vs. Kings game recap: A little sunshine to end the California trip

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The Montreal Canadiens finally win one in the Golden State.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Los Angeles Kings Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens continued their California road trip by paying a visit to the Los Angeles Kings. A familiar face started in net for the Kings, as Peter Budaj drew in for the injured Jonathan Quick.

Montreal jumped out to an early lead when Max Pacioretty sniped Andrei Markov’s pass behind Budaj, just over three minutes into the game. The captain also snapped his eight-game goalless drought in the process.

Paul Byron then drew an interference penalty and the Canadiens were awarded their first power play of the game, when Alec Martinez was sent off for the infraction, but Montreal couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity.

The Kings would also spend time on the man advantage as the first period died down. Torrey Mitchell was called for hooking, but the Canadiens penalty killers were able to successfully kill it off.

Seconds later, Max Pacioretty was assessed a tripping penalty that carried over to the beginning of the second period. With nearly a minute-and-a-half on the man advantage to work with, the Kings tied the game on Jeff Carter’s power-play maker.

20161204 5v5SA Corsi Image credit: HockeyStats.ca

L.A. got another quick goal when Nick Shore was left alone in front of Price, to give the Kings their first lead of the game.

But the Canadiens would respond in kind, when Pacioretty scored his second of the night. With Toffoli sent off for high-sticking Brendan Gallagher, Pacioretty’s shot found its way through traffic to beat Budaj.

Montreal immediately found itself down a man after that goal, as a holding call went against Markov. Despite having a puck ring off the post, the Canadiens managed to survive the penalty unscathed. But they weren’t as fortunate when a little while later, Alex Galchenyuk served a two-minute minor for slashing Dustin Brown. The Kings had no trouble setting up Drew Doughty, who managed to beat Price cleanly to restore L.A.’s lead.

The march to the penalty box didn’t stop there. This time, it was Montreal’s turn to go on the man advantage. With Lewis serving two minutes for interference, Alex Radulov went the extra distance to knot the game at three.

The tie was short lived, as Lewis later found himself behind the Canadiens’ defence and beat Price one-on-one. Lewis’ tally gave the Kings their third lead of the game as the period came to a close.

Andrew Shaw responded in kind for the Canadiens, when he banged in Brendan Gallagher’s rebound through Budaj’s five-hole to knot the game at four. That was the last goal either team would score during regulation. Despite both teams trading chances as the third period wore on, neither team could break the deadlock and the game headed to overtime.

Both teams exchanged scoring chances, with the Kings getting more chances early on. Despite Montreal getting a late power-play opportunity, extra time solved nothing and the game was sent to a shootout.

Neither Price nor Budaj seemed to be at their best, letting five out of the eight shooters score on their attempts. But Paul Byron ended up scoring the game-winner, after Price denied Pearson, to grab an important two points for Montreal.

Thoughts

  • Max Pacioretty broke out his scoring slump in style. The Canadiens’ captain potted two goals and ended the night with three points.
  • Fellow first-liner, Alex Radulov, also managed to work his way on to the scoreboard with three points of his own. Radulov assisted on both of Pacioretty’s markers, and the captain returned the favour on Radulov’s goal as well. Radulov also scored a skillful goal in the shootout to cap off his stellar night
  • It was an uncharacteristic off night for Carey Price. The Habs netminder allowed four goals on 31 shots and ended the night with an .870 save percentage. Despite the poor showing, Price stepped up when the team needed him most by stopping the final Kings attempt in the shootout.
  • Alex Galchenyuk left the game with a lower-body injury. Here’s to hoping that the young forward will bounce back quickly, because without him, Montreal’s centre depth looks awfully suspect. In the case that Galchenyuk needs to miss time, who will take his spot on the top line?