It looked like an anemic powerplay through two periods, but the Montreal Canadiens’ man advantage sprung to life in the third period for a 3-2 come from behind win against the Columbus Blue Jackets
on Wednesday night. Michel Therrien did some line juggling for this contest while welcoming P-A Parenteau and Manny Malhotra back into the lineup.
The Canadiens got off to a strong start but it was Columbus that scored inside of five minutes on a delayed penalty against Andrei Markov for the early 1-0 lead.
It was the third game in a row that the Jackets scored on their first shot of
the game. Both Sergei Bobrovsky and Carey Price made big saves throughout the period as the teams pressed each other. Brendan Gallagher had a goal called back as his tipped shot towards the end of the period was straddling the goal line by a hair, and did not fully cross – after the officials went to Toronto for confirmation.
Montreal was given a late powerplay, which amounted to little before Columbus broke for a shorthanded 2-on-1, where Max Pacioretty would head to the box for cross-checking a Columbus player into Price. Nick Foligno took a hooking penalty less than 20 seconds later to set up a 4-on-3 powerplay for the Canadiens to start the second period. The score remained 1-0 after 20 minutes with Montreal leading in shots 12-6.
There was not much out of the 4-on-3 to start the period, and Lars Eller was denied by the post on the 4-on-4 before both teams settled into full strength. The Canadiens got another crack at the
man advantage a little over four minutes into the period and came close with a shot going off the crossbar, but that would be all she wrote as Montreal struggled to hold the offensive zone.
It was unfortunate the Canadiens could not capitalize on a dominant second period, where they had Columbus pegged in their own end for most of it. A late powerplay for Montreal generated an excellent chance for both sides, but the score remained 1-0 Blue Jackets after 40 minutes.
The shots were 21-12 Montreal.
Bobrovsky started the period off with point blank robbery on Tomas Plekanec as Montreal continued where they left off in the second.
It turned into a back and forth affair during a nine minute stretch with just a
single whistle. P.K. Subban was called for tripping at the midway point of the period and Columbus promptly doubled their lead off a Ryan Johansen shot from the right faceoff circle.
Montreal had another crack at the powerplay around the nine minute mark and Pacioretty fired one in past Bobrovsky to halve Columbus’ lead. The Canadiens were given another chance on the
power play less than a minute later and a Subban point shot at the dying moments of the man advantage drew the Canadiens level with 5:36 to play in the third.
Yet another Blue Jackets penalty gave Montreal a third powerplay in the period with five minutes to play and Pacioretty buried his second of the game for the 3-2 lead.
The Blue Jackets made their final push in the dying minutes and emptying the net with a minute to play, but could not find the equalizer. Montreal recorded the 3-2 third period comeback victory while outshooting the Blue Jackets 31-16.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star – Carey Price
He wasn’t extremely busy but the majority of the saves he made were tough ones. He had little help from the
offence for most of the game, only to be beaten by a tough deflection and a nice shot by a hot player.
14 saves on 16 shots – .875 save percentage – 2.00 GAA
2nd Star – Max Pacioretty
Pacioretty scored in his fifth consecutive game as his powerplay goal breathed life back into the Canadiens. He added his second
PPG of the game for the winning marker. Pacioretty is the first Hab since Mike
Cammalleri five years ago to have a five game goal streak.
2 goals – 0 assists – even rating – 7 shots – 3 hits – 1 takeaway – 22:10 TOI
3rd Star – Tomas Plekanec
He was part of the only line that showed up. Plekanec was involved throughout and probably wishes he had a few second cracks at the chances he missed.
0 goals – 1 assist – even rating – 6 shots – 2 hits – 1 takeaway – 21:06 TOI
Honourable Mention – Brendan Gallagher
A fraction of a inch more and he would likely have tied the game up in the
first period. He was involved throughout in his typical fashion and made a few
nice setups for his linemates.
0 goals – 1 assist – even rating – 5 shots – 0 hits – 1 takeaway – 20:55 TOI
Stat of the Night
0-4 & 3-3 – The first four power plays were pretty embarrassing. The last three power plays were magic. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Puzzling.