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Canadiens vs. Stars game recap: Max Pacioretty does it again

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The Habs hold off a determined Dallas Stars team as Pacioretty scores the overtime winner again

Montreal Canadiens v Dallas Stars Photo by Glenn James/Getty Images

For the second time in as many nights the Montreal Canadiens went to overtime with an opponent. This time they came away with a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars.

The game began with several stoppages in play, making it difficult for both teams to play with a high level of pace or intensity. The game started to pick up slightly after the first few minutes when the whistles became less frequent. The first good chance for the Canadiens came as Brendan Gallagher drove the net with the puck eventually finding its way into the crease from behind the net. Michael McCarron got a few whacks at the puck before Kari Lehtonen was able to cover it up.

A good steal by Phillip Danault in the offensive zone allowed him to pass the puck to Nathan Beaulieu, who released a quick wrist shot above Lehtonen's shoulder to put Montreal up 1-0.

The Stars players briefly thought that they tied the game up soon after, as a shot by Jordie Benn from the goal line fooled Al Montoya. As he spun around, the puck lay near the line in the crease. A quick reaction by Danault got the puck out of harm's way. Antoine Roussel then found himself on a partial break, but by trying to beat Montoya up high, he missed wide

The Stars would get the goal they were looking for. After a face-off win by Jason Spezza, the puck would eventually go to Stephen Johns who put it on net and Tyler Seguin deflected it past Montoya to get the tie 1-1.

Montoya would go through another close call as a shot by Patrick Sharp caught him at the blocker before puck dropped straight down. He was able to react quickly enough by getting his leg in front to keep it from crossing the goal line.

The end of the period would end with a fight between two unlikely combatants. After Sharp delivered a hit on Paul Byron who left the game and did not return as a result, Torrey Mitchell took Sharp on and would get the takedown on the Stars' forward.

The Canadiens would start the second period on the power-play. Their best chance would come early from a Beaulieu wrist shot that grazed the crossbar before going out of play. The Habs were unable to create much more beyond that.

Dallas would be the team to take control of the second period. They did not allow Montréal much time of possession in their zone, thus neutralizing any good scoring opportunities. As an indication of this, the Stars would lead the frame in shots 16-7.

John Klingberg would put the Stars in front. Off a Stars face-off win, he would receive the puck at the point and shoot it past Montoya. The Canadiens were unhappy with that turn of events, as they felt that Spezza tripped up Tomas Plekanec rather than win the face-off cleanly. The Montréal bench received a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, putting Dallas back on the power-play immediately thereafter.

Montreal would try to tie the game late in the second, but the Stars did a good job on keeping players to the outside, and there were few opportunities from the Canadiens in high scoring areas.

The Canadiens would rekindle its offence with the help of the power-play in the third period. It seemed that nothing would come out of it, but Beaulieu stopping a Stars player from leaving the Dallas zone allowed Alex Radulov to get a breakaway and put it past the goaltender with a nice move.

The Habs would get another power play opportunity after a Dallas delay-of-game penalty. Radulov's goal gave the power play legs, as this one was Montreal's most convincing yet. Unfortunately, Gallagher would leave the game after receiving a Shea Weber slap shot to the hand.

Max Pacioretty would get a marker shortly thereafter as he delivered an accurate shot off the far post and in, with the help of McCarron who stationed himself at the front of the net.

Dallas would tie the game with less than three minutes left in the game, as another point shot, this time by Esa Lindell, made it past a screened Montoya. Although the third period was controlled early on by the Canadiens, the Stars pushed in the pace during the period's latter half.

The overtime period would end quickly, as Pacioretty read the play better than anyone else and got a head start up the ice. He took a pass from Jeff Petry and found himself on a breakaway. He fired a quick wrist shot five-hole on Lehtonen and won the game for the Canadiens for a second straight night.

Thoughts

  • Too many close calls for Al Montoya. There were three or four instances where he seemed out of place and needed to make a last split-second reaction or to get help from his teammates.
  • It was a great game for Nathan Beaulieu who not only drove possession and play up the ice, but some of his defensive plays translated directly into offence. He participated on all of Montreal's goals, giving him a goal and two assists on the night.
  • The injury bug keeps biting at the Canadiens, who lost both Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher against the Stars. If these two are out for an extended period of time, general manager Marc Bergevin might look to make a move.
  • Many may have questioned the decision to bring up Bobby Farnham, but he played respectably, especially with the in-game absences of Byron and Gallagher. It seems that when Montreal calls players up from the farm team, those players fit well into the system.