The Habs began their five game road trip on a positive note, with a 2-1 overtime win in the Motor City against the Red Wings. After the team got off to a phenomenal start to the season, they have slipped in recent games winning only two of their last six games. I was fortunate enough to attend the game live, and wanted to share my thoughts on the game.
The first period was the best twenty minutes they played in the game. They produced several quality scoring chances and dictated the pace with strong possession. Near the five minute mark, rookie Arturri Lehkonen had their best chance to score. A shot from the top of the circle by Andrei Markov was deflected off a Red Wing’s skate, and directed off of the net to Lehkonen, who shot the puck towards the open side of the net at a knee high level. Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek reacted quickly to the redirection, and got his glove in perfect position to make the save, on what will likely be a highlight reel play. The Habs continued to dominate the rest of the period and ended up with 10 shots on goal, doubling Detroit’s five shots; however the game was scoreless.
In the second period, the Red Wings came alive while the Habs faltered, flipping the script from the first period. The team appeared to be guilty of turning over the puck too often, and giving the momentum back to Detroit. Carey Price was outstanding, stopping all 15 shots on goal, while the rest of his teammates generated only five shots. The game remained scoreless after the first forty minutes, but it did turn a little chippy at times. At one point Alexei Emelin checked Red Wings rookie Tyler Bertuzzi into the boards, causing him to leave the game while favouring one foot. In another play, Phillip Danault collided awkwardly with defenceman Brendan Smith in a knee on knee hit causing the Red Wing player to also leave the game not putting any pressure on one knee.
During the third period, just past three minutes in the Red Wings got on the board first, with a top shelf shot on the glove side from Justin Abdelkader that eluded Price. Detroit started to apply the pressure and had a few good scoring opportunities a few minutes later but Price was stellar in stopping them. A few minutes later, Brendan Gallagher deflected a shot from Tomas Plekanec to tie the game for Montreal. Montreal managed to improve their shots on goal in the period to seven, while Detroit produced 10 shots.
To start overtime, both teams played a bit conservative with Detroit getting a power play advantage when Shea Weber got a slashing call after only 27 seconds. The Red Wings got a few shots on goal but Price again was solid to keep his team in the game. Around a minute after the penalty was killed, Detroit got a decent scoring chance on a 2-on-2, but then Alexander Radulov turned the puck back up the ice leading a 2-on-1. He drew the defenceman over towards him, then fed a streaking Alex Galchenyuk with a beautiful saucer pass, who buried the puck to win the game.
HW Habs 3 Stars of the Night
1st Star: Carey Price – Another outstanding effort for the Habs MVP. Carey did not get lulled to sleep after a light first period. Instead he stepped up when his team was significantly out shot for the rest of the game, providing another near perfect game.
Stats: 31 saves out of 32 shots, 1.00 GAA, .970 Save Percentage
2nd Star: Alex Galchenyuk – Alex scored the game winning goal, and had a presence each shift he was on the ice.
Stats: 1 goal, +1, 2 PIM, 1 Shot, 1 Hit, 1 Blocked Shot, 16:43 TOI
3rd Star: Brendan Gallagher – The relief on Gallagher’s face said a lot, given his game typing marker was his first goal since October 24th, to break a scoreless span of 16 games.
Stats: 1 Goal, 3 Shots, 1 Hit, 1 Blocked Shot, 15:16 TOI
Honourable Mention: Alexander Radulov – The chemistry between Radulov and Galchenyuk is noticeable and despite the extra attention the Red Wings gave them both, Radulov’s effort was high every shift. His assist to set up the game winning goal was pure joy to watch and cheer for at the live event.
Stats: 1 Assist, +1, 2 Shots, 1 Hit, 16:38 TOI