After a game in Phoenix where there were lots of scoring chances for both
sides, Saturday’s tilt against Nashville was a significant contrast with chances
coming few and far between. In fact, the lone true similarity between the
games was how it ended, with a Montreal game winning goal in sudden death
overtime. Max Pacioretty had the winner as the Canadiens took this one
The Habs had some extra hands on deck for this one as both Scott Gomez and
Mike Cammalleri returned to the lineup, although the latter failed to make it
through the entire game before his lower body injury gave him some more
discomfort though he did stay in the game. The line shuffling that
occurred due to the changes paid dividends early as David Desharnais, flanked by
Montreal’s two power forwards, scored on a strong drive to the net. That
was the lone goal of the first period, setting the stage for a second period
where special teams proved to be key.
The powerplay, which has been a concern all season for the Habs, hurt them
again as Shea Weber scored a shorthanded tally early in the second after
Nashville had other chances on that same Montreal PP. The Preds nearly
scored on Montreal’s other powerplay in the period as well. Despite the
special team struggles, it was 1-1 heading into the 3rd. The final period
was scoreless and relatively uneventful, the most notable occurrence coming when
P.K. Subban returned partway through after sustaining what looked to be a
shoulder injury after a very questionable decision to take a run at Jordin
Tootoo after the buzzer sounded in the 2nd. Fortunately for Montreal, his
return proved to be useful late in the game.
Nashville had a couple of close chances early in the overtime and carried
most of the play. The last laugh went to Montreal, however, as Subban set
up Pacioretty who wristed a top-shelf shot past Pekka Rinne to give the Habs
their second straight overtime win on this road trip.
Peter Budaj picked up his first win for the ‘Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge,’ making
25 saves in the process. For the Preds, Rinne’s shutout streak against
Montreal came to an end; he turned away 23 shots in the loss. The Habs
were 0/3 with the man advantage (-1/3 when you consider the shorty allowed)
while Nashville went 0/4.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star: Max Pacioretty (1 goal (GWG), +2 rating, 2 shots,
Given that he scored the game winner, this one is pretty obvious. As I
write this, I’m still marveling over the precision of that wrister though; that
was truly a goal scorer’s goal.
2nd Star: Peter Budaj (25 saves on 26 shots, 62:17 TOI)
To some, Budaj was a surprise starter but he turned in his second straight
strong effort. His rebound control was a little shaky at times but he shut
the door each time that Nashville started to get some momentum.
3rd Star: David Desharnais (1 goal, +1 rating, 2 hits, 10/16
faceoffs, 16:41 TOI)
I’ve been critical of Desharnais lately but he turned in a strong performance
with a goal and a few other good chances. His faceoff play was strong as
well, that has been better as of late.
Honourable Mention: Mike Cammalleri (0 points, -1 rating, 4
shots (8 attempts), 16:58 TOI)
Yes, he isn’t scoring but for the first time in a while, he was shooting with
some authority and less tentativeness. How do you get out of a slump?
Keep shooting. It was also clear he was far from 100% so to have those
chances despite the setback health wise merits mentioning.
Stats of the Night: Let’s change things up a bit and have our
own version of ‘The Numbers Game.’
1 – Maximum number of giveaways or takeways by any Hab.
2 – Number of faceoffs taken by ‘faceoff specialist’ Petteri Nokelainen (0
3 – Number of faceoffs taken by winger Brian Gionta (0 wins).
4 – The number of Montreal forwards who actually recorded a hit.
The Habs now return home with all 4 points earned on this mini 2-game road
trip. Their next game is Monday against the Sabres.