After the closely contested loss to Colorado, Claude Julien mixed things up a bit, starting Carey Price once more, and shaking up the lines.
In the early going, the Montreal Canadiens outshot Arizona 7-1, peppering Darcy Kuemper, and holding the zone especially well. Price wasn't terribly busy, but he looked good when called upon. Victor Mete jumped in just prior to the half-way mark, sprinting back to break up a one-on-none to bail out David Schlemko.
Artturi Lehkonen took the first penalty of the game at 11:39. Alex Galchenyuk had a couple of shots on the advantage, but the Habs killed off the penalty. The Coyotes made life interesting late in the period, but Price shut the door.
In the last minute of the period, Lehkonen and Max Domi had a big chance for the opening goal, but Domi's pass hopped over Lehkonen's stick, and Price made a save when the play went the other way. By the end of the period, Arizona had jumped out to a 14-12 lead in shots, but Montreal got a power play to start the second, going up against the best penalty kill in the league.
Domi won an offensive-zone faceoff, Jonathan Drouin threw the puck back to Jeff Petry, Petry dished it to the captain, and Shea Weber blasted the puck to give the Habs their second power-play goal in as many nights.
Max Domi wins the faceoff and Jeff Petry tees up Shea Weber for a power play goal. pic.twitter.com/3mnx1Va1lt— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) December 21, 2018
Price kept the game at 1-0 on the next shift against a speeding Derek Stepan, and Montreal drew another power play. It did not fare as well, as Tomas Tatar took a holding call. Oliver Ekman-Larsson made them pay, tying the game at 6:49.
The Coyotes buzzed following the goal, but Price was once again, and repeatedly, more than up to the task.
The Habs won back some of the momentum in the final minutes. Their offensive-zone time led to yet another power play. Kuemper got the better of Domi, Tatar whiffed, and the period came to an end, with the shots 29-20 for the ‘Yotes. It was only by the grace of Price that the score remained 1-1.
Montreal came out strong in the third, and it paid off for them. Paul Byron stuffed the puck past a sprawling Kuemper, with Phillip Danault and Mete picking up the assists.
Byron makes it 2-1. Great pass by Danault. pic.twitter.com/CVAQ8cdfts— David St-Louis (@RinksideView) December 21, 2018
Danault took a hooking call around the seven-minute mark, and once again, Galchenyuk was noticeable on the power play. Weber sent the Coyotes back to the advantage at 11:38 on a tripping call behind the net, but the team stepped up to kill off his penalty.
Domi nearly sealed away the game on an empty net in the final couple of minutes, but Stepan tied him up just enough. In the end, it didn't matter. When the final buzzer sounded, Carey Price had locked down win number 300.
- Victor Mete was a force of finesse to be reckoned with. There was, of course, the play where he bailed out Schlemko, but he also made plenty of other good plays on both sides of the ice.
- Price on his game covers a multitude of evils. It wasn't a bad game overall, certainly, but Price had to be huge on quite a number of occasions when the Coyotes absolutely peppered the Habs’ net. Without him, the game easily could have gone quite differently.