The streaking Habs welcomed the lowly Detroit Red Wings to town in their final home game of 2019. The Canadiens were coming off of back-to-back wins over the Pens and Sens this week. For their part, Detroit was fresh off ending a 13-game winless streak with a win over Winnipeg Thursday. The lineup remained unchanged from Wednesday with Carey Price starting between the pipes
Detroit got off to a quick start and had a 1-0 lead just three minutes in. Montreal dominated virtually the entire game from that goal. However, early in the third, the Wings added a power play marker to double their lead. The Habs got one back in the last minute, as Detroit stole two points from the Habs.
Montreal didn’t get off to a very good start, and Detroit jumped on them early as just three and a half minutes in, the Red Wings opened the scoring. Dylan Larkin won the puck on a forecheck behind the Habs net as he stole it away from Shea Weber, and he was the only one that saw Tyler Bertuzzi streaking to the net. He sent it out front to Bertuzzi who tipped it in for the early lead.
Detroit’s league worst power play got a chance shortly after the goal when Brendan Gallagher was called for cross-checking. The only scoring chance in the ensuing two minutes came courtesy of Phillip Danault. Danault rushed past the defenders and had a breakaway but was turned aside by Jonathan Bernier.
After the penalty, the action started to pick up. Each team was using their speed to generate scoring chances both ways. After a missed chance by Domi, Andreas Athanasiou had a breakaway and Price was forced to make a tricky pad save.
As the period went on, the Canadiens started to take over. Montreal started to cut off the Red Wings’ long passes at centre ice which led to more chances for the Habs. Montreal had a late power play after Luke Glendening was called for a slash. The Habs generated all kinds of chances for the rest of the period but couldn’t find the scoresheet. Despite being down after the first, the Habs were starting to take over the game.
It was a very frustrating second period for the Canadiens. Montreal dominated for virtually the entire twenty minutes, but they somehow didn’t find a way to beat Bernier. Tomas Tatar had a heck of a shift early in the period when he flew around the offensive zone, fired a shot off the post, then picked up the rebound and tried again.
On his next shift, Tatar flew into the offensive zone and sent a cross-crease pass to Gallagher. Gallagher appeared to be ready to tap it in, but he was hauled down before he could get a stick on it. Somehow there was no penalty called and play continued.
Around the midway point, Joel Armia had a great chance when he wrapped it around to his backhand, but he hit the post. This was Montreal’s third post of the game. Shortly after that, Nick Suzuki sent a beautiful saucer pass to Nick Cousins, who was behind the defenders but was too tight to the net and couldn’t do anything to get around Bernier.
Despite the Habs having the puck for almost the whole period, Detroit got the only power play chance when Artturi Lehkonen was called for interference on Alex Biega after the puck was chipped past him at the blue line. The Red Wings didn’t score with their advantage.
The Habs continued to push for the rest of the period, but puck luck continued to keep Detroit ahead. An offensive zone faceoff with three seconds left sent the puck back to Petry. He tried to whistle a buzzer-beater under the crossbar, but it sailed just a little too high. The second period ended the same way the first did with an angry Habs team trailing despite thoroughly dominating most of the game.
Montreal picked up right where they left off and continued to dominate. Early on, there was a crazy shift from Cousins-Suzuki-Weal. The puck was loose around the crease, but it still did not find a way to cross the line.
Montreal kept pushing and pushing, until seven minutes in when Riley Barber was called for a very weak slashing penalty. Detroit caught another lucky break when a Mike Green point shot found its way into the net. The was a demoralizing goal for the Habs; despite the complete domination of the game, they found themselves down by two.
The Canadiens pushed hard for the rest of the period, but it was the same story. The refs helped to seal the win for Detroit by giving the Habs another penalty with three minutes left in the game when Gallagher was called for cross-checking Patrik Nemeth.
After the penalty, with Price out, Tatar wired a one-timer on a feed from Weber to bring the Habs within one. An icing call with forty seconds left gave the Habs one last chance. However, they couldn’t hold it in the zone, and the buzzer went off. The game ended with a 2-1 win for Detroit, but the Habs definitely deserved the two points in this one.
HabsWorld Habs Three Stars
First Star – Tomas Tatar
Tatar was flying for the whole game tonight. He was fast and creative with the puck and could have had a couple of goals. On top of putting his skills on display, he was also tenacious and worked really hard to retrieve the puck on the forecheck and in the defensive zone. It was also a heck of a shot to bring the Habs close late in the game.
Stats: 1G, +1, 2 SOG, 15:29 TOI
Second Star – Nick Suzuki
Suzuki continues to look good playing the centre ice position. He is really improving his 200-foot game and focusing on all three zones. He was one of the most dangerous Habs in the third period as they pushed to get back in it.
Stats: 2 SOG, 15:54 TOI
Third Star – Brendan Gallagher
Gallagher was running with Tatar all game. He never takes a game off and is always giving 100% effort. He was all around the net, despite being interfered with on several occasions. Had he not been hauled down on that chance early in the second, the game could have been a different story.
Stats: 4 SOG, 16:56 TOI
Honourable Mention – Ryan Poehling
For the second straight game, Poehling was very noticeable tonight. He was great along the boards and showed his strength in puck battles on the forecheck
Stats: 2 SOG, 9:26 TOI
Following the game, the Habs announced a roster move. Otto Leskinen was sent to Laval while Lukas Vejdemo was recalled.