For the second straight game, they had a one-goal lead entering the third period, but this time they weren’t dominated. They scored the first two goals of the period, and then allowed two of their own. It’s cliché to want to focus on the positives, but that’s exactly what the Canadiens should do.
In the words of Montreal goaltender Jake Allen after the game, “those two goals... who cares?”
Two goals with the goalie pulled will happen from time to time, especially with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on the other side. But the other team having the goaltender pulled means you have a late lead, and if you’re ahead in that situation you’re going to win a lot more games than you’ll lose.
On Monday, the Canadiens were dominated in the third period. They played a shell and the Oilers skated right through it like they had the star in Mario Kart that makes you invincible. According to Natural Stat Trick, at five-on-five the Oilers had eight high danger chances and 21 unblocked shots at goal. To put it in perspective, they had two and 15 respectively through the first 40 minutes.
In the third period on Wednesday, the Canadiens allowed one of each in over 10 minutes of five-on-five hockey. On top of that, they generated more shot attempts and scoring chances. Montreal knew they didn’t play the right way after Monday’s game, and on Wednesday they corrected it and it was a huge part of their win.
On Tuesday, I wrote how the Canadiens didn’t channel their urgency the right way. On Wednesday, they did. It finally looked like they were understanding what they need to do to win hockey games. The mental blocks that previously existed seemed like they lifted. Sometimes all it takes is getting back on the horse... Or Powerhorse, if you will.
The Canadiens have lacked the aspect of Brendan Gallagher bringing them into the fight since he went out with his injury. On Wednesday morning, Josh Anderson said that the team needed to start playing like it was a playoff game. On Wednesday night, he led by example. He brought them into the fight.
Jake Allen said that when Anderson plays like he did on Wednesday, with his combination of size and speed, he’s unstoppable.
Whatever you call it, it was exactly what the Canadiens needed.