Montreal’s stars came to play when it mattered most in Vancouver
Saturday’s win came at the hands of the top six of the Canadiens, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Montreal leaves Western Canada with four out of a possible six points. It’s due in large part to the play of Carey Price, but also thanks to the Montreal Canadiens’ top offensive lines getting goals in crucial situations.
In Calgary, Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Drouin kept the team’s chances alive, and Artturi Lehkonen helpd steal a point for his team. In Vancouver, it was again Tatar (with a massive assist from Jeff Petry) who opened the scoring for Montreal.
Down 2-1 midway through the third, the Canadiens did something that didn’t happen too often last year: they went to work and got the bounce they very much deserved to tie the game up.
With Max Domi working the puck behind the net, he turned and fired a puck off of Andrew Shaw’s skate and it found its way into the back of the net for a game-tying goal.
For the second straight game though, the offence took advantage of their opposition’s mental mistakes, this time in the form of a terrible Michael Del Zotto interference penalty on Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It took all of eight seconds for the Canadiens to make Del Zotto a persona non grata in Vancouver on Saturday night. A cycle with Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault sent the puck to the point to Jonathan Drouin, and much like he did in Calgary, he scored an absolutely massive goal, this time to put Montreal in the lead.
With the Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils, and red-hot (I know, it’s weird) Buffalo Sabres on the upcoming schedule, the re-emergence of Price, coupled with the fantastic contributions from the top-six, could not be coming at a better time.
It’s a wide-open Eastern Conference, and injuries are taking a brutal toll on the division leaders. Montreal has every chance to launch themselves into that tier if they can keep this play rolling. Based on their timely contributions this week, it’s hard to bet against an unstoppable Max Domi and a locked-in Carey Price.