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Canadiens vs. Red Wings game recap: Taking Flight

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After a difficult first, the Habs found found their feet — and their scoring touch.

Montreal Canadiaens v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens rolled into Detroit with three straight victories to face the Red Wings, who were winless in their last five.

The game got off to an exciting start, with Phillip Danault's stick exploding on what would have been a beautiful scoring chance, but which instead led to a Red Wings two-on-one going the other way. However, Jeff Petry flew in, intercepted the cross-ice pass, and sent the play the other way. Montreal then drew the first power play of the game.

It wasn't a good one. Both teams had two-on-ones, but neither team capitalized. Despite what was probably one of the very worst power plays the Habs have seen in a while, Max Pacioretty's shot hit Brendan Gallagher's stick for the perfect tip-in on the advantage.

Anthony Mantha also scored on a tip just 64 seconds later to make it a 1-1 game.

Montreal got the next chance with nine minutes left in the period, as Henrik Zetterberg put the puck over the glass. But the Habs once again gave up two odd-man rushes on the power play.

Fortunately, Carey Price was able to stop everything, even when he had no idea where the puck was.

Jacob de la Rose took an offensive-zone penalty, and some incredible puck movement from the Wings (and completely static penalty killing from the Habs) led to a Detroit power-play goal.

The rest of the period was pretty terrible, though there was no change in score. Players kept falling over, no one could hold onto the puck cleanly, and the Red Wings ran them around all three zones.

After 20, the Habs had been outshot 13-6, and probably lucky to be only down one goal.

Charles Hudon was called on a very weak play to start the second, and the Detroit power play went to work. Fortunately, the Habs survived without allowing a goal.

Then the Habs turned it on.

Paul Byron got in on a breakaway, and Petry had a good look, but it would be Charles Hudon who scored with 15:14 to go, tying the game up on a beautiful rebound. Gallagher and Mete were awarded the assists.

The Pacioretty line came out with a vengeance, had a strong shift, and then Andrew Shaw beat Jimmy Howard clean, one-on-one 43 seconds later.

Montreal got a power play at 10:47 as Niklas Kronwall was sent off for tripping Danault. The power play was definitely better, though considering how terrible the earlier ones were, wasn't saying all that much.

With 2:33 to go, Galchenyuk took a face-off, de la Rose hunted the puck down, and Galchenyuk roofed it.

After a terrible first period, the Habs turned it around in the second, scoring three goals, and putting up thirteen shots to Detroit's nine.

The Wings pressed to open the third period, but the Habs followed up with some shifts of their own.

Then Gallagher, Hudon, and Plekanec had a great shift, capped off when Gallagher replicated his first goal, this time tipping Petry's shot into the net.

The rest of the third saw both teams get chances, Price calmly holding down the fort, while Detroit got more shots.

Jakub Jerabek drew a power play at 15:08, and Pacioretty got a garbage goal to make it 6-2.

Price made a couple of crazy saves on a delayed penalty, but on the actual penalty kill, Frans Nielsen took advantage of a sprawling Price.

However, that was as much of a fight as the Wings put up, and the final buzzer saw the Habs winners in four straight, and with a playoff spot.

Thoughts

  • It was a weird first period from the get-go, between the lines and the godawful power play that scored anyway, and it didn't get a whole lot better after that. They gave up far, far too many odd-man rushes, especially on the man-advantage. Fortunately they turned it around after that.
  • WHY are the Habs so hellbent on never playing Galchenyuk at C? No matter what his issues, he's better than de la Rose. Or Byron Froese. (Oh, and he was more or less playing centre when he scored...)
  • Boy the Habs were lucky Price was so on his game early.
  • It's a long time till April, but as of now, the Habs are in a playoff spot, and considering the way the year started, that's worth cheering.