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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
In back to back nights the Canadiens surrendered 3rd period leads to eventually fall to a divisional foe. However in
Thursday's contest they managed to secure a single point in the standings. Things looked peachy after Tomas Plekanec extended the Canadiens lead to two goals just 45 seconds into the 3rd period. But less than seven minutes later Ryan White turned the game on its ear with a selfish undisciplined penalty, eerily similar to....
Flash back to Wednesday January 30th the Canadiens were on the road in Ottawa and just over seven minutes into the 2nd period Ryan White roughed up Patrick Wiercioch, and on his way to the penalty box he slammed his stick and had some choice words for the official, which earned him an extra two minutes. On the ensuing power play the Ottawa Senators scored twice taking a 3-1 lead and never looked back, as they wiped the floor with the Canadiens. White was given 8 nights to think about what he did, and one would think that should have been enough time to learn that taking unnecessary double minors can have major implications on a hockey game.
But not for White.
In this game, he was goaded into dropping his gloves and throwing a few punches at Sabres forward Steve Ott. The experienced “rat” turtled away and drew the 4 minute power play. Ott played his role to perfection as White's outburst completely changed the momentum of the game. White was actually a little lucky he didn’t end up with a 5 minute major.
The Canadiens had 1-0 and 2-1 leads eliminated less than a minute after they acquired each of them. Canadiens back up Peter Budaj did stop 36 of 40 shots but gave up a couple of weak goals. That said the Canadiens need to realize that Budaj is not Carey Price and when Price is given the night off they need to collectively tighten up, and as Michel Therrien said after the game the Canadiens needs to adjust to each and every referee in the league. Therrien added that it was not his best decision to insert White back into the line up.
One positive I will mention about White is that he faced the media after game which couldn't have been easy. He accepted full blame for the loss and I'm sure will have his work cut out for him if he want to play for Therrien's' Canadiens anytime soon.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star: Tomas Plekanec- Tremendous response after Wednesday nights game in Montreal, where he was directly responsible for both of the Bruins third period goals. Plekanec was the Canadiens best skater and I have no idea how he did not end up with a chance in the shootout. Plekanec took the most draws on the team and finished 50% in the face-off circle and he played 5 1/2 minutes on the penalty kill.
Stats: 2 goals, +2 , 23.11 time on ice, 5 shots, 1 hit, 2 giveaways.
2nd Star: Rene Bourque – The rejuvenated Rene has been a joy to watch all year and tonight was no exception. Bourque had two assists and drove the net hard all night. He led the Canadiens in shots on goal and worked very well in the transition game.
Stats: 2 assists, +2 , 2 penalty minutes, 19:33 time on ice, 7 shots,1 hit, 1 takeaway, 1 blocked shot.
3rd Star: P.K. Subban – Despite a -1 rating P.K. was great on
Thursday. He is still trying to do a little too much on his own during the powerplay but I love his confidence in carrying the puck up the ice and into the zone. For some strange reason which I am unsure of P.K. is not being used on the penalty kill. I hope this is just until he learns the new system.
Stats: 1 goal, -1, 2 shots, 21:02 time on ice, 1 hit, 1 takeaway, 1 blocked shot.
- NHL Stat Sheet