As Max Pacioretty sits for at least two games due to an upper body injury, the Montreal Canadiens came back to beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in overtime on Thursday night as they secured Carey Price’s franchise record 43rd win. There was some line juggling for the Canadiens with Pacioretty out as well as Greg Pateryn stepping in for an injured Tom Gilbert.
Montreal had the best chance in the first few minutes of the game as Brian Flynn was absolutely robbed point blank by Jimmy Howard on a defensive zone turnover by the Red Wings. There was some good back and forth action through the first period as Montreal killed off a penalty, but Detroit would find the opener a little over the 10 minute mark. A nice Pavel Datsyuk pass found Tomas Tatar alone who beat Carey Price for the 1-0 lead.
The Canadiens were eventually rewarded for the dominance they showed throughout the period with Andrei Markov beating Howard from the point off an offensive zone faceoff win with over two minutes to play to tie it up at 1-1. That would be the score line after 20 minutes with shots even at 9 apiece.
It was an exciting beginning to the second period, which saw stretches of domination by the Canadiens, a wasted power play by the home team, a near disastrous giveaway by Carey Price and capped by a Jeff Petry goal – all this with 6:24 played in the frame as Montreal led 2-1. Datsyuk tied it up minutes later with a low shot from the slot to even things back up. A few penalties by the Canadiens in the latter half of the period derailed their momentum but they kept the game tied 2-2 heading into the third. Shots were 20-19 Montreal after 40 minutes.
Montreal got an early opportunity on the power play in the third period but a horrific giveaway by Markov at the blue line sprung Darren Helm on a shorthanded breakaway, which he made no mistake beating Price high for a 3-2 Red Wings lead. Both teams traded power play opportunities near the midway point of the period. A hilarious, and stupid play by Detroit’s Brendan Smith, who slapped a puck in play while sitting on the bench, gave Montreal a 5-on-3 and it will haunt his dreams. Tomas Plekanec snuck one past Howard on a tight angle on the 5-on-3, leaving Montreal with a 5 on 4.
Detroit came close to scoring their second shorthanded goal of the period but Helm was denied by the post. Devante Smith-Pelly would then nullify the remaining power play time with an offensive zone tripping penalty, which was killed off. Both teams couldn’t find the winner in regulation as overtime would be needed. And it would be another tight angled shot that would beat Howard in overtime as Lars Eller followed the age old rule of just put it on net to give the Canadiens the 4-3 win.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star –Tomas Plekanec
I will pen an open letter apology to this man for writing him off early last season. Another superbly rounded performance by the veteran as he got it done all over the ice.
1 goal – 0 assists – -1 rating – 4 shots – 0 hits – 0 takeaways – 21:22 TOI
2nd Star – Jeff Petry
He’s caught fire offensively of late but remains a sound, dependable defenceman on the back end. Another good day at the office for the pending UFA.
1 goal – 1 assist – even rating – 2 shots – 1 hit – 1 takeaway – 20:48 TOI
3rd Star – Andrei Markov
He would’ve been higher on this list had he not had that awful giveaway that led to the shorthanded marker. The legs are gone, but this guy can still play. He’s rarely not the smartest man on the ice in any game.
1 goal – 1 assist – even rating – 2 shots – 2 hits – 0 takeaways – 28:58 TOI
Honourable Mention – P.A. Parenteau
He had a great first period and seemed to fade a bit as the game went on. Parenteau showed he can find the right positioning; he just needs to make more of those chances.
0 goals – 0 assists – even rating – 3 shots – 0 hits – 1 takeaway – 15:49 TOI
Stat of the Night
43. Thought I stiffed Price, did ya? Not the greatest body of work tonight but he’s now surpassed two of the all-time greats. Those names, Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden, are in the rafters, in the Hall of Fame and in the history books. Quite an accomplishment by the young goaltender, and thoroughly deserved.