After allowing 11 goals in the past 2 games, the key for the Habs on Saturday
night was to get back to basics and they did just that, as they blanked Toronto
3-0. This marked the second shutout victory over the Leafs at home this
season. The offence didn’t start clicking for a while though as the two
teams were held scoreless after the first.
The only real thing of note from the 1st period was a last minute ‘fight’
between P.K. Subban and recently acquired Joffrey Lupul, one that saw plenty of
haymakers thrown…but few, if any actually landed. Montreal got
themselves into some penalty trouble early on in the 2nd but overcame those,
restoring the momentum in their favour. Benoit Pouliot scored just past
the midway point of the 2nd period (the first time this season he has scored in
consecutive games), while Brian Gionta doubled the lead less than 2 minutes
The 3rd period, like the 1st, was relatively quiet overall for both sides.
David Desharnais scored just past the 6 minute mark on the powerplay which put
this one out of reach for Toronto. The only thing left to decide was
whether Carey Price would get his 6th shutout of the season. The Leafs
made sure of that by taking a trio of penalties in the final 9 minutes.
Price stopped all 27 shots he faced while J-S Giguere turned aside 36 of
Montreal’s 39 shots. Both teams had 5 powerplays in the game, Desharnais’
tally was the only one the Habs scored on while Toronto obviously didn’t
capitalize on any of theirs. Unfortunately, the Habs didn’t escape this
game without injury as Max Pacioretty left with around 7 minutes left in
regulation with what is believed to be a shoulder injury. No further
details have been given.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: David Desharnais (1 goal, 1 assist, +1 rating, 12/16
faceoffs, 16:13 TOI)
You could make a pretty strong case that this was Desharnais’ best game in
the NHL thus far. He set up Pouliot for the winner and had several other
strong feeds to his wingers. His goal was a result of him driving the net
which is always good to see and his 75% faceoff rating led all Habs.
2nd Star: Roman Hamrlik (2 assists, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 5 shots,
3 hits, 6 blocks, 25:15 TOI)
Hamrlik did it all tonight on Montreal’s blueline. He made the right
reads in the offensive and defensive zones, and was responsible for over 30% of
the Habs’ blocked shots on the night.
3rd Star: Carey Price (27 saves on 27 shots, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%)
Price wasn’t tested a whole lot but when he was, he was sharp. Coming
off allowing a career high 8 goals, I was curious to see how he’d respond.
He gave a pretty good response if you ask me.
Honourable Mention: Brian Gionta (1 goal, +1 rating, 4 shots, 2
blocks, 19:08 TOI)
Honestly, I don’t think the statline does him justice. Early on in
particular, he was the Habs’ most dangerous forward and logged some key shifts
on the PK when Montreal was in penalty trouble early on. His goal was
pretty good too, though Pacioretty deserves a lot of credit for a terrific setup
Stats of the Night: Montreal’s penalty kill has been up and
down at times this season but against Toronto, it has been consistently good.
The Leafs have not scored on their powerplays against the Habs this year in 19
opportunities. David Desharnais has been surprisingly consistent on the
draw; as I noted earlier he was 75% tonight, continuing his streak to 8 games
where he wins at least half his faceoffs.