On Thursday, Montreal was looking to spoil a home opener for the second
straight night as they travelled to Washington to take on the Capitals.
Although they didn’t get off to the best of starts, they managed to stay in the
game until they could tie it late. Brendan Gallagher added the game winner
in the shootout as the Habs won by a score of 2-1.
Michel Therrien made one lineup change for this one as Travis Moen made his
season debut while Dale Weise was a healthy scratch. With three healthy
scratches per night, it’s likely that we’ll see a bit of a rotation early on as
the coaches try to keep all of the players in playing shape.
The Canadiens were once again sluggish to start the game although this time
it was for much, much longer. Early on, P.K. Subban turned the puck over in his
own zone; a quick pass then found Andre Burakovsky who wired one past Dustin
Tokarski to put the home team on the scoreboard. For Burakovsky, it was his
first NHL goal in his first NHL game. The goal gave Washington even more
momentum than they had early on; by the halfway point of the period, the shots
were 12-0 for the Caps. In fact, it took until less than three minutes left in
the frame for Montreal to record their first shots of the game. The period
ended with the Habs lucky to be down only one with the shot tally reading 15-2
in favour of the Capitals.
In the second, it took a little while for Montreal to get going but they did
find their skating legs as the period progressed. The middle frame also
featured a bit of nastiness as Brandon Prust and Liam O’Brien had a spirited
fight while late in the frame, Prust and Travis Moen kicked off a scrum that
left the Habs shorthanded to start the third. The Canadiens were the better
team in the period, however, and led the Caps in shots by a count of 12-7.
Therrien made some changes in the second as well as the first three right
wingers found themselves on new lines. P-A Parenteau dropped to the third line,
Jiri Sekac moved up to line two, and Brendan Gallagher found himself on
Montreal’s top trio. It was around the time that these changes were made that
the Habs got some momentum.
The third period saw better things for the Habs, who thought they scored
three goals in the frame but only one counted. Parenteau looked to have his
first as a Hab but the goal was waved off due to goalie interference as Rene
Bourque made contact with the goalie. Moments later, Tomas Plekanec beat Braden
Holtby top shelf to get Montreal on the board. Later in the period, Bourque
thought he may have had a powerplay marker; his shot was ruled a goal on the ice
but after review, it was determined that the puck hit the crossbar and did not
go over the goal line. Nonetheless, it was Montreal’s best period of the game
and it was enough to get them to overtime. The Habs outshot the Caps 9-6
in the period.
One negative from the third was that Alexei Emelin left with an upper body
injury in the dying seconds. He didn’t return for overtime.
In the extra session, it was Washington who controlled much of the play but
neither side was able to score, leading to a shootout.
Tokarski made 29 saves to pick up his first win of the year while Holtby
turned aside 23 Montreal shots. Both teams were scoreless on the powerplay,
going 0/5 each.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star: Dustin Tokarski – There were some who were unhappy
with the decision to start him in just the second game of the season but I don’t
think many feel that same way now. In the early going when Montreal
couldn’t get anything going, he kept Washington from getting too big of a lead
and was solid the rest of the way.
Stats: 29 saves on 30 shots, 0.92 GAA, .967 SV%
2nd Star: Alex Galchenyuk – Like many Habs, he didn’t start off
the game strong but got much better as the game went along. Not only did
he have some good plays offensively (including setting up Plekanec’s goal), he
also was aggressive on the forecheck and didn’t back away from getting involved
Stats: 1 assist, +1 rating, 2 shots, 5 hits, 17:57 TOI
3rd Star: Tomas Plekanec – Although he wasn’t anywhere near as
dominant as he was on Wednesday, he still had a good game. His goal was a
crucial one while he also had a strong attempt in the shootout that was stopped.
Stats: 1 goal, +1 rating, 2 shots, 3 hits, 2 blocks, 3/12 faceoffs,
Honourable Mention: Rene Bourque – Even before his active third
period, he was having an effective game. The aggression he displayed in
the postseason is still in place and as a result, there are a lot of positives
when he’s on the ice.
Stats: 0 points, -1 rating, 2 hits, 13:36 TOI
Stat of the Night: Despite having the lowest ice time of any
Montreal defenceman (14:02), Nathan Beaulieu led the way in blocked shots with
four on the night.