Canadiens vs. Rangers 10 Takeaways: Carey Price’s Swagger
Price brought his A game to Madison Square Garden and held the Habs in for a tight win against the Rangers.
1. Despite another late-game penalty, Andrew Shaw had a good showing.
Shaw scored the game’s opening goal, added a hit and was strong in the faceoff circle for the few times he was needed. He was noticeable at both ends of the ice, usually for the right reasons, including a few key backchecks. Of course, he did his reputation no favours by taking a silly tripping penalty late in the third period, but that turned out OK because of Carey Price.
2. Galchenyuk had a good game despite lack of points to show for it.
Alex Galchenyuk played a simple but effective game on Tuesday. The young center played the type of game that doesn’t show much on the stats line (0 points, 1 shot, 2 hits) but he was responsible for an 11-8 shot attempt advantage, and his line created scoring chances. His teammates obviously saw his effort out there, and after Chucky fired a laser beam off the post in the shootout, was met with pats on the back from the bench.
3. Greg Pateryn obviously wants to stay in the lineup.
The third pairing defenceman has been left out of games recently and finally got a chance on Tuesday. Despite playing only 13:04, the Sterling Heights native managed a shot on net, blocked two shots in his own end, dished a whopping five hits and ended the evening with a positive shot control advantage. If he keeps playing like this, it will be hard for Claude Julien to send him back to the press box.
4. Gallagher gets no benefit of the doubt with referees.
This one should come as no surprise anymore, but Brendan Gallager + proximity to opposing goaltenders = minor penalty. Hear me out, Rangers fans; I’m not saying Henrik Lundqvist didn’t get run into, he definitely did. I’m saying Gallagher actually gave a valiant effort to stop his progress towards the net, but due to tight checking by Ryan McDonagh, he had nowhere else to go.
I think in the interest of goaltender safety, I’m generally OK with the call. But the fact remains when a goaltender picks himself up, revealing the crumpled presence of a certain #11, the refs often end up pointing to the box regardless of what Brendan has done.
5. For the second game in a row, the Habs avoiding dump ins.
The transition game of the Canadiens seems to be one of the areas the coach is addressing early. On Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets, the Habs would carry the puck through the neutral zone and when they get to a well-defended blue line and when one would expect a dump-in along the boards, the player would instead turn around and start a new rush through the middle of the ice, with possession.
The trend continued on Tuesday, as several rushes through the neutral zone resulted in a cycling back rather than a dump-in. This is good news for those who had grown tired of the tactic so heavily relied on previously.
6. Rick Nash loves playing the Montreal Canadiens.
Since the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens met in the 2014 playoffs, Rick Nash has made it his business to score goals against the Habs, which he has done consistently every year since then. This season, in two contests, the veteran power forward has twice put pucks past Price.
7. This last point is important to remember come playoff time.
Heading into the game, the Rangers were the highest probability opponent for Montreal in the first round of the playoffs. Rick Nash pumped four points (three of them goals) against the Habs in that 2014 series, and will need to be watched more closely if these two teams collide for a best-of-seven in April. Not to mention all the other big game players in New York, including Henrik Lundqvist.
8. Brian Flynn? Yes, Brian Flynn - stop being so surprised.
OK I have to admit, that I myself was initially wondering why Flynn was selected to take the first shootout attempt. But a quick look into his career numbers and a reassuring chat with my EOTP colleagues confirmed that we should all want to see Flynn hop over the boards in shootouts. The fourth line winger has an impressive five goals in ten attempts, including Tuesday night’s missed goal.
If you were given a coin and told you have a 50/50 chance of scoring a goal, wouldn’t you take that chance?
Also, before you ask “yeah, but what about Paul Byron?” - he’s four for seven in his career. Thanks to Jared Book for digging the numbers up.
9. Claude Julien could have an adorable bromance with Kirk Muller.
Turns out Julien let Muller choose the shootout players, and the move paid off. Furthermore, a shot of the Canadiens’ bench after Byron’s goal showed the new coach immediately turn around to shake Muller’s hand, the two looking excitedly at each other. It’s only been two games since Julien’s return, but I think it’s safe to say the fans are just as excited to see these two behind the bench, smiling - and more importantly, winning.
Bench reaction to Byron's winner #Habs pic.twitter.com/nDNTFKqhav— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino) February 22, 2017
10. Saving the best for last.
Carey Price. Carey Price. Carey Price? Carey Price! Early in the first period, Price made a solid pad save on Chris Kreider, which I imagine pumped him up. Montreal took the early lead in the game and immediately fell behind on shot attempts. The Rangers had exactly twice the amount of scoring chances, and a 10-7 advantage in high danger chances, but Mr. Price held down the fort, making several highlight reel saves. Windmill glove - no problem. Show you the five-hole and slam it shut - easy. What Price did to J.T. Miller in the dying seconds of the game cannot be done justice with words.
Price performed a miracle save, diving across a gaping crease to snatch a sure goal from existence, and Miller’s hope along with it. See for yourself. Caution: once you open this gif, you won’t stop looping it.
Everybody owes Carey Price a steak dinner: pic.twitter.com/tn92kG0Xng— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) February 22, 2017
Bonus Carey Price Takeaways!
- There’s one more thing which needs mentioning about Price’s performance. His swagger seems to be back. He showed some attitude in his saves, his crease positioning was on point throughout the game. In the shootout, he appeared to chatter some players after stopping them. He flashed some swagger, reminding us all just who Carey Price is.
- This doesn’t seem like a smart tactic in the long run, but hear me out... Prior to Tuesday’s game, Price was hit up high by a Paul Byron shot, which likely was just a stinger off the shoulder. In the first period, Shea Weber accidentally collided with Price while driving his man out of the slot, knocking his goalie’s helmet off in the process. Weber ended up getting the tying goal, and Byron potted the winner in the shootout. Fear of Price-like reprisal may just be motivating Habs players to put the puck in the opposition’s net. (kidding, obviously...maybe)/