An early third-period goal from Jeff Petry would hold on to be the game-winner in the Montreal Canadiens’ game against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday night, where Tomas Tatar had two points against his former team in the 3-2 victory.
The Canadiens had a slow start to the game and were lucky to escape the first period unharmed, as the team appeared quite unmotivated overall and generated very few scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes. Their best chance came when Jonathan Drouin drove the net and put the puck on the pad of Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard, who didn’t know where it was. Joel Armia found the loose puck and skated hard for it, but Howard located and smothered it just in time.
The Red Wings came close to opening the scoring themselves on a late-period power play, but Antti Niemi stuck out his pad to deny ex-Hab Thomas Vanek a goal, and was then saved by the puck hitting the post seconds later.
Howard’s inability to track the puck and corral his rebounds carried over to the start of the second period and allowed the Canadiens to take a 1-0 lead just 30 seconds in. Phillip Danault’s wrist shot bounced off Howard’s chest, leaving it for Tatar to poke to the front of the net. Brendan Gallagher whacked it mid-fall for his 16th of the season.
Detroit’s poor performance to start the second continued after Gallagher’s goal and allowed the Canadiens to take a 2-0 lead before two minutes had elapsed. Joel Armia netted his fourth tally of the season in his 199th career game after Max Domi set him up to release a wrist shot from the slot that found its way under Howard’s glove.
The Red Wings reduced their deficit to one by period’s end as the Canadiens were unable to get the puck out of their zone and Andreas Athanasiou took advantage of this to score his first of the evening. It also went under the glove of Niemi, who stopped 30 of 32 shots in the win.
The Canadiens re-gained their two-goal lead with another goal in the opening minute of the third period, however, this one coming just 19 seconds in. Tatar fed Petry for his second assist of the night, and the defenceman wristed it top shelf to make it 3-1.
Athanasiou’s second of the night came less than five minutes into the final frame while the Red Wings were on the power play. There was a lot of traffic in front of Montreal’s net, and while Niemi made multiple saves through the traffic, he was unable to stop Athansiou as he one-timed the puck from the side of the net.
Detroit pushed hard with their net empty in the final minute of play and spent the majority of that time in the Canadiens’ zone, but the Habs held on for the victory.
- Joel Armia has looked good the last two games, and has shown flashes of offence and speed near their opponent’s net. You can read more on his play later today.
- The Habs will need to be more disciplined going forward, controlling the amount of unnecessary penalties they take. Had Detroit’s power play been more effective than 1-for-5, then the Canadiens would not have walked away with two points.