The Habs played the second contest of their two-game series in Winnipeg after beating an excellent Jets team on Monday night. After such a good effort on Monday, it came as no surprise that no lineup changes were made, much to the dismay of Artturi Lehkonen and Victor Mete who remained spectators. This meant that the goaltending confrontation was a rematch as Carey Price faced Connor Hellebuyck. As expected, the Jets did not take losing mildly and came out with a strong performance. They were the better team for most of the night, but the Habs were able to hang around and earn a point in a 4-3 OT loss.
The first period got underway with a strong scoring chance for Josh Anderson in the opening seconds before the Jets top unit overwhelmed Joel Edmundson and Shea Weber which resulted in a Blake Wheeler goal only 50 seconds into the contest.
Both teams were active early as Nick Suzuki got a good chance and the Jets replied immediately after a terrible pinch by Weber. 5:38 into the period, the Habs were called for too many men but were able to play a strong penalty kill to end the threat.
Coming out of the box, Corey Perry was patient and allowed Brett Kulak to provide support which ended with an Adam Lowry penalty for a Habs power play that was not threatening until the last 30 seconds when Jonathan Drouin and Anderson combined to create some scoring chances that Hellebuyck pushed aside.
The second half of the period saw the Habs follow the lead from the top line to take over for almost five minutes. These included mildly interesting scoring chances for Anderson and Tomas Tatar.
With 4:14 to play, as the Habs appeared in control of the period, an errant pass by Alexander Romanov missed the mark and caught Brendan Gallagher who reacted awkwardly. With the Jets counter-attacking, Xavier Ouellet panicked and barrelled into Price which resulted in Kyle Connor receiving the rebound and simply having to deposit the puck into the vacated net.
If both team’s first penalties were questionable, Josh Morrissey was called for a blatant hold on Tyler Toffoli with only 90 seconds to play. However, the Habs complete lack of execution in passing meant that they squandered more strong play by Anderson.
It was a role reversal to start the second period as the Habs squandered the short power play and found an aggressive Jets team in their zone. The play was turned around as Gallagher cleared the zone creating a 2-on-1 in the process. Phillip Danault looked toward Tatar the whole time and then buried his chance 1:26 into the period.
The goal gave the Habs some energy as they were suddenly all over the Jets. However, some terrible puck control from Romanov led to at least three excellent Price stops over the course of the opening half of the period despite Montreal being the better team in this segment of the game.
The game settled down which meant the Habs lack of execution once again started becoming obvious. With 6:10 to play, Petry was guilty of a bad pass with all three forwards cheating. The turnover meant that Pierre-Luc Dubois was able to get a shot off and who else but Connor was all over the rebound to restore the two-goal lead. Minutes later, Anderson was called for hitting Derek Forbort. Winnipeg’s power play did little that threatened as the rest of the period was played with a fast pace but little to see in terms of scoring chances as both teams were relatively sloppy in their zone exits.
The Habs came out aggressively in the third as they created turnovers and scoring chances. Coach Ducharme also opted to roll three lines as Gallagher returned to the wing with Tatar and Danault while Perry joined Suzuki and Toffoli. Danault finally won a faceoff (I think he was 25% up to that point) and the set play was on as Gallagher skated in from the weak side and beat Hellebuyck five-hole.
The Habs were back to within a goal with 14 minutes to play. Winnipeg pushed back, but Price had enough of Connor as he robbed him with a desperation save after a brilliant play by the attacker. Before the midway point in the period, both teams were guilty of blatant infractions but it appeared as though the officials had put the whistles away.
The second half of the period started with a good scoring chance for Perry but Hellebuyck was up to the task. The Jets then pushed back and this scrambled the Habs because execution remained a big challenge for both teams on this night.
With 5:40 to play, Kulak completed a great rush which opened the door for Paul Byron who shoved the puck into Hellebuyck’s pads while the rebound came to Armia who simply had to lift the puck. Instead, he sent his shot directly into Hellebuyck’s glove. Tatar then got a good shot after Gallagher created a turnover.
With Price gone to the bench, Gallagher wins a couple of offensive zone puck battles to then find Mr. Clutch as Perry was once again money when it counted. He pulled off an amazing cross-ice pass to Toffoli who scored the goal that mattered after a relatively quiet game for him. The game was tied with 1:25 to play.
The Habs tried to exorcise some demons as they hoped to end their 0-7 overtime streak. They were not able to do so as a Danault pass was masterfully redirected by Petry but it was stopped by Hellebuyck. The response was immediate as the Jets came back down and Nikolaj Ehlers buried a chance five-hole a minute into overtime as their record is 0-8, but they were lucky to gain a point if we’re being honest.
HabsWorld Habs 3 Stars
1st Star – Phillip Danault
I guess it was the second goal that was key for Danault. After scoring his goal, he was on fire for the rest of the night (except on faceoffs). In this one, he looked like 2018-2020 Danault and the team was able to climb back into a game they likely did not deserve to have a chance because of it.
Stats: 1 goal, 1 assist, +2, 1 shot, 1 hit, 17:20 T.O.I.
2nd Star – Brendan Gallagher
Gallagher has spent the last two games winning offensive zone puck battles he has no business winning from a positioning point of view. His intensity on the puck is too much for Winnipeg’s defenders and others on the team should be taking notes as he spent the last 120 minutes absolutely victimizing a subpar defence with his intensity and puck-hounding.
Stats: 1 goal, 1 assist, -1, 3 shots, 4 hits, 15:58 T.O.I.
3rd Star – Corey Perry
Game after game, Perry provides for this team. A timely goal, a clutch play, responsible defensively, and hands that deceive even the best defenders. It was past due for him to find himself in the top-9 instead of Byron and Armia who have provided very little for this team this season. What’s the reward for playing him more? That pass in the final minute for Toffoli’s game-tying goal. Need I say more? Get the man some ice time!
Stats: 1 assist, +1, 5 shots, 14:40 T.O.I.
Honourable Mentions – Josh Anderson and Jonathan Drouin
Neither player got on the scoresheet but they both performed their best Brendan Gallagher impersonations on this night as they were the leaders that refused to quit. They both put in solid 60-minute performances and opened the door for their teammates to take advantage of Winnipeg’s lesser defenders.
Anderson Stats: +1, 1 hit, 18:50 T.O.I.
Drouin Stats: 1 assist, 2 shots, 18:29 T.O.I.