The first Saturday home game for the Habs was a wild one but unfortunately
they fell short in the end, losing 6-5 to Colorado in a shootout. Things started poorly for the Canadiens as they were running around early in the defensive zone when Milan Hejduk ended up on a mini-breakaway after Lars Eller lost him in the slot. Thankfully, Carey Price stood tall and made a big pad save. Unfortunately, just as the Bell Centre crowd stopped chanting his name, Price allowed a very soft 5-hole
goal to Chuck Kobasew from the high slot.
Max Pacioretty equalized the game in the middle of the first when he got two whacks at a Raphael Diaz point shot. David Desharnais also picked up an assist on the goal. Montreal finished the 1st period out
shooting the Avalanche 19-9 while having a power play to start the 2nd, courtesy of Shane O’Brien getting a little too friendly with Mathieu Darche in the Colorado crease.
While on their first power play, the Habs allowed the Avs an offensive rush and Avalanche Daniel Winnik drove the net hard, crashing into Price. This put the Canadiens on a brief
two man advantage that was converted with just two seconds left when Tomas Plekanec blasted a shot off the bar and into the back of the net.
Midway through the the 2nd, Pacioretty took a holding penalty 200 feet from his own net, leading to a David Jones power play goal as he flipped the puck over the glove of Price. Less than a minute later, P. K. Subban made a terrible decision as the last man back to get fancy in the neutral zone. To make it worse, he lost the puck to Paul Stastny, who made it look easy getting Price to move laterally and slid the puck between his pads.
Jacques Martin called a timeout to try to rally the troops, which seemed to do little until the commercial break when Brian Gionta fed Travis Moen going hard into the zone. Moen scored his second of the year to knot the game up at 3’s. With less than ninety seconds left in the second period, David Jones picked up his 2nd of the game after a pass from Ryan Wilson deflected off his skate and behind Price, restoring the one goal lead for the Avalanche.
After trading unsuccessful power plays, the Canadiens stole the lead in just 20 seconds of hockey when Brian Gionta slid a backhand shot past Semyon Varlamov and David Desharnais deflected a fantastic pass from Pacioretty into the gaping cage. The seesaw battle continued when Diaz took a tripping penalty that Colorado took all of eleven seconds to score on.
Overtime solved nothing, and in the shootout, Plekanec and Pacioretty missed the net while Hejduk and Matt Duchene victimized a stagnant Carey Price, who failed for a second straight game to pick up his 100th career win.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1. Brian Gionta: 1 goal, 2 assists, +1 rating, TOI 17:49
Taking two whacks at the the puck, Gionta slid a timely backhander past Varlamov to tie the game at 4 apiece. Earlier in the game, Gionta fired a hard shot wide of the net on the PP that wrapped around the boards and was picked up by Plekanec, who fired a rocket from the point to score for the Canadiens’ struggling PP. Gionta also had the primary assist on a Moen goal that put Varlamov and the puck in the net.
2. David Desharnais 1 goal, 1 assist, +1 rating, TOI 23:17
Converting on a beautiful pass from Pacioretty, Desharnais gave the Montreal Canadiens a late third period lead. He also exchanged whacks in front of the net with Pacioretty, who eventually snuck the puck in on a sharp angle for Montreal’s first goal of the game. Desharnais lead all Canadiens forwards in total ice time.
3. Max Pacioretty 1 goal, 1 assist, +1, TOI 22:21
Pacioretty opened the scoring for the Montreal Canadiens. He picked up a rebound from Desharnais
and put the puck in on a near impossible angle. The goal also gave Diaz his
first point in the NHL. During the late stages of the game, he fired a beautiful pass to Desharnais who directed the puck to the goal.