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Canadiens @ Rangers game recap: Armia’s hat trick helps Montreal finish strong

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Carey Price kept the Canadiens in the game long enough for the offence to appear.

Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers

The Montreal Canadiens didn’t let a slow start get them down, as they rallied in the final 40 minutes for a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

Joel Armia scored his third goal of the game into an empty net in the final minute to clinch the victory. He scored the final three goals of the game for the Canadiens, and Montreal had someone record a hat trick for the second consecutive game. Carey Price made 28 saves in the win.

NaturalStatTrick.com

New York had the first scoring chance of the game, but the teams went back and forth in the opening minutes. Artturi Lehkonen continued his strong play, generating scoring chances but couldn’t finish.

The Rangers opened the scoring when Vladislav Namestnikov tipped home a Brady Skjei shot less than five minutes into the game. It was a skillful tip by the Rangers forward on what was a harmless looking shot. Carey Price had no chance on the deflection.

The Canadiens got a power play late in the period, and while they generated some slight scoring chances and held possession in the offensive zone, they couldn’t tie the game up.

The second period didn’t start off any better for the Canadiens, after some Rangers possession in the offensive zone, Jordie Benn took a penalty in the first two minutes.

Just as the penalty expired, Namestnikov had another chance, but Price made an unbelievable pad save, sliding across the net and shutting the door, keeping the score 1-0. Perhaps even more impressive than Price getting across for the save was the fact he didn’t even allow a rebound.

Namestnikov had another chance after an odd-man rush, but Price made the save.

Brendan Gallagher tied the game up with 12:33 left in the second period. Tomas Tatar won the race to a dump in, turned around and found Gallagher heading towards the net who tipped the puck past Henrik Lundqvist for his 28th of the year. Lundqvist made 32 saves for the Rangers.

After both teams traded scoring chances, Price made another big save midway through the second when he made a huge glove save on Pavel Buchnevich.

Joel Armia gave the Canadiens their first lead of the game after an odd bounce. Christian Folin dumped the puck into the corner, and it bounced right in front of Lundqvist before Armia pounced on the loose puck and beat him on the glove side.

Tomas Tatar had a breakaway before the end of the period but Lundqvist stopped his deke attempt.

Montreal overcame a slow start to the second period to almost pull even with the Rangers in terms of shot attempts, and outshot the Rangers in the period.

Armia scored his second of the game after Jesperi Kotkaniemi launched him on a two-on-one with a nifty backhand pass. Armia kept the puck and fired the shot short side on Lundqvist.

The Rangers cut the lead to 3-2 with 2:32 remaining in the third period. Jesper Fast was left alone at the side of the net, lost the puck and Brendan Lemieux put the loose puck into the open net.

That was as close as New York would come as Armia finished off a strong shift with his third goal of the game into the empty net.

Thoughts

  • This started off looking like another game that would end like Monday’s loss to New Jersey. The Canadiens just getting beat by a team they are better then. But they turned it on after a rough opening 25 or so minutes, and were able to pull out a huge two points.
  • Joel Armia has provided an offensive punch I’m not sure many people expected. He’s made the third line with Kotkaniemi and Paul Byron a huge asset. Most teams don’t have the depth to match up or exploit that line.
  • The fourth line of Lehkonen, Nate Thompson and Dale Weise was great on Friday. They were the best line in terms of 5 on 5 possession on the team, which is not something the fourth line has been able to do very often. Jordan Weal will make is Canadiens debut, but I’m not sure if it will be on Saturday night. Perhaps the best part of their performance was that they were 5-0 in high danger scoring chances and that was despite playing over three minutes against Mika Zibanejad’s line.
  • On the other side, the line of Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, and Andrew Shaw were badly outplayed. They did not get a high danger chance, and were on the ice for six Rangers high danger chances. They faced off against the line of Namestnikov, Ryan Strome, and Jesper Fast and didn’t have an answer for them. The good thing about this Canadiens team is that when one line struggles, another is able to step up more often than not.