On Sunday afternoon, the Habs were looking to sweep their Super Bowl weekend
of matinees as they hosted Arizona. What they failed to realize is that
despite playing a Western Conference bottom feeder, they’d actually have to put
forth some effort for more than a few minutes. Montreal was sloppy
throughout and the Coyotes took advantage, scoring a pair of third period goals
en route to a 3-2 win.
Michel Therrien generally has kept his lineup the same after a win but that
wasn’t the case for this game as he made a trio of lineup changes. Dustin
Tokarski got the start in place of Carey Price, Mike Weaver replaced Sergei
Gonchar, while Gabriel Dumont made his season debut in place of Michael
Local goalie Louis Domingue made his first career NHL start for Arizona and
Alex Galchenyuk didn’t need much time to quash any hopes of a shutout for the
rookie as less than two minutes in, he wristed one home to get the Habs on the
board. After needing at least 55 minutes to score in the last two games,
an early one was a nice change of pace. Galchenyuk didn’t waste much time
potting his second of the afternoon either as he redirected a centering feed
The period also featured some adventurous moments from Tokarski. To put
it nicely, he’s no Price when it comes to handling the puck. On two
occasions, Tokarski turned the puck over leading to quality scoring
opportunities. One of those chances was quelled by Andrei Markov who
lately has been stopping a sure (or near) goal at least once a game. The
shots were even in the period at nine apiece.
In the latter stages of the first period, Montreal seemed to ease up which
gave Arizona some momentum. That continued into the second as the Habs
were a step slow with the Coyotes winning the loose puck battles. Weaver
made a great diving save to keep the shutout streak intact but a late Manny
Malhotra penalty proved costly as Lauri Korpikoski redirected a point shot past
Tokarski. The goal was reviewed for a high stick but the call on the ice
Lars Eller was also hurt in the period as he was cross-checked into the net by
Brendan Shinnimin. Eller played just one shift in the final seven minutes
of the frame, lasting only 18 seconds and did not play in the third. Not
surprisingly, with Arizona carrying the play, they also led in shots, getting 14
to just five for Montreal.
One would have hoped that after allowing a late goal and playing a lousy
second period would have woke the Habs up for the final frame. Nope.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored another fluky goal (not quite like the one in
Toronto though) that Tokarski should have had while Korpikoski banked one off a
sprawling Alexei Emelin with the man advantage a few minutes later to take the
lead. At that point, one would have thought that the Canadiens would have
woken up. Nope. Montreal went through the motions for most of the
period and weren’t able to beat Domingue a third time.
Tokarski made 29 saves in the loss while Domingue turned aside 18 Montreal
shots for his first career victory. The powerplay proved to be the
difference in this one as the Habs were 0/2 with the man advantage while Arizona
scored on both of their opportunities.
HW 3 Stars of the Afternoon
1st Star: Alex Galchenyuk – This one was a very easy selection
as he had both of Montreal’s goals as well as a couple of other good chances.
With Eller out, Galchenyuk moved back to centre for a few shifts in the third
period as well. It’ll be interesting to see if he stays there if Eller
isn’t ready for the next game.
Stats: 2 goals, +2 rating, 3 shots, 16:48 TOI
2nd Star: Max Pacioretty – There weren’t many forwards who
generated anything in the way of offence but Pacioretty was one of them as he
was responsible for nearly 20% of Montreal’s shot attempts. However,
defensively, it wasn’t his best of games though; he was on the ice for all three
of Arizona’s goals which is uncharacteristic for him.
Stats: 0 points, -1 rating, 4 shots (10 attempts), 20:21 TOI
3rd Star: Mike Weaver – Weaver has hardly played in the last
couple of months so it wouldn’t have been crazy to expect him to struggle.
He didn’t and actually made a goal-saving block in the second period while
playing steady in his own end. He was hardly spectacular but it was a
steady outing for the veteran.
Stats: 0 points, even rating, 0 shots, 2 hits, 3 blocks, 12:53 TOI
Honourable Mention: Dustin Tokarski – Yes, that second goal
can’t happen but aside from that, he had a decent game. There’s bound to
be some shakier than normal moments when he’s in and given how little he has
played this season, rust is always going to be a concern. He did enough to
keep them in the game which is all the Habs are looking for out of their backup
goalies in recent years.
Stats: 29 saves on 32 shots, 3.07 GAA, .906 SV%
Stat of the Afternoon: 9 – The number of consecutive games that
Jiri Sekac went without a point before recording an assist on Galchenyuk’s
second goal. Considering how he has played over that time, he was more
than due for a point.