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Canadiens @ Canucks game recap: Late power play goal gives Habs winning road trip

Jonathan Drouin, Carey Price come up big in another comeback win.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens overcame another third period deficit as Jonathan Drouin's powerplay goal with under three minutes remaining gave the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

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Carey Price made 36 saves to earn his second straight victory, finishing the road trip in his home province at Rogers Arena. Price made several big saves, notably on Bo Horvat and Markus Granlund in the third period that kept the Canadiens in it. Montreal had 31 shots of their own on Jacob Markstrom.

Drouin needed only eight seconds to score the winning goal after Michael Del Zotto went off for interfering with Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Del Zotto took Kotkaniemi and slammed him well after he got rid of the puck. Drouin took the puck at the top of the offensive zone, and slapped a shot perfectly in the top corner past Markstrom.

It was the Canadiens’ first power play goal since November 6 against the New York Rangers.

The first period was scoreless but both teams had power play opportunities. Montreal killed two penalties while Vancouver's killed one. Montreal’s best chances of the period came even strength when Charles Hudon drove the zone and made a great pass to Nicolas Deslauriers but Markstrom made the save. Max Domi had a chance coming out of the penalty box, but couldn’t beat the Canucks goaltender.

Tomas Tatar opened the scoring in the second period when he took a long pass from Jeff Petry and was sprung on a break. He made no mistake beating Markstrom.

Del Zotto tied the game up before the second period ended. After starting the rush, the puck found his stick just past Price’s outstretched pad and he put the puck into the open net.

The Canucks took the lead in the third period on a power play goal of their own. Vancouver’s super rookie Elias Pettersson fired a one-timer from the right circle that beat Price. A few seconds earlier, Pettersson had a shot from the same spot that Price had stopped.

Montreal tied the game just 1:32 after Pettersson’s goal when Max Domi’s pass went off of Andrew Shaw’s skate and into the net past Markstrom with 8:19 to go in the period. It was Shaw’s sixth goal of the season, fifth on the line with Domi and Drouin, and remarkably all six of his goals have tied the game.

The Canucks pushed hard to tie the game, but the closest they would come was when Nikolay Goldobin rang a shot off the post with less than a minute remaining and the goalie pulled.

Thoughts

  • It’s funny how quickly things can change. The Canadiens were less than 20 minutes away from going 0-2 on the Western Canada road trip, but after a comeback in Calgary, came back again on Saturday and ended it 2-1.
  • The Canadiens have three wins (3-4-0) when trailing after two periods but that doesn’t even take games like Saturday — when they entered the third tied but ended up trailing in the period before coming back — into consideration. They had two wins (2-30-3) when trailing after 40 minutes all of last season.
  • Brendan Gallagher earned an assist on the winning goal, but he had a lot of chances throughout the game, and made himself visible. He led the team with a 67% Corsi at 5-on-5.
  • Carey Price was solid in net again, and it wasn’t only the two goals allowed. He continued the trend from Thursday night of looking calm and very Price-like in goal.
  • The fourth line did have some chances, but something has to give. The Canadiens cannot just continue to play the same three guys until Paul Byron or Joel Armia return from injury and expect different results. It’s clear that something needs to change. The most obvious move would be Nikita Scherbak entering the lineup.