After demolishing the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night at the Bell Centre, the Montreal Canadiens headed back out west for another six-game road trip starting on Monday night vs the Vancouver Canucks.
Carey Price got the start and Dominique Ducharme confirmed before the game that there would be no changes to the lineup meaning that Victor Mete and Artturi Lehkonen remained healthy scratches.
The Canadiens were quick out of the gate and known for those fast starts, they went right to work looking for the early goal.
Three minutes into the game, Vancouver took a bench minor for too many men on the ice. The Habs would make them pay on the ensuing power play when Jeff Petry scored with a wicked shot from the point beating Thatcher Demko with a screen courtesy of Corey Perry for the early 1-0 lead.
The Canucks spent most of the time after that trying to get back in the game but with every chance, Carey Price was there to make the save and preserve the 1-0 lead.
With three minutes left in the period, Corey Perry took an interference penalty and gave the Canucks a chance on the power play late in the first period to even the game at one. However, on the ensuing play, Paul Byron took the puck using his speed and barrelled into Demko giving Vancouver a 5-on-3 opportunity as he was called for goaltender interference.
The Canadiens managed to kill off both penalties and survived the end of the first period, going into the dressing room up a goal after 20 minutes of play.
Once again Montreal got off to a fast start at the beginning of the second period and continued to crash the net looking to double their lead and the momentum had shifted back to the Canadiens.
It was back and forth as both teams were playing speed and transition but the Habs were doing very well off the rush and having more rush chances than their opponent.
With less than five minutes left in the period, the Canadiens got another opportunity on the man advantage as Nils Hoglander was called for tripping. As much as Montreal pushed and tried to score, the Canucks did a good job killing the penalty.
After 40 minutes of play, the Canadiens were still up 1-0 and 20 minutes away from starting the road trip with a win.
The first five minutes of the final frame was a wild ride as both teams were going at it and got great chances at both ends of the ice. Demko and Price were going toe to toe keeping it a one-goal game.
With less than 10 minutes left in regulation, the Canadiens were penalized when Nick Suzuki was called for tripping and Montreal was shorthanded for the third time in the game.
Price stood on his head and the Habs managed to kill the penalty and his shutout streak was still alive. With five minutes to go in regulation, the Canucks started to play with more urgency and putting more pressure on Montreal.
With 1:19 left in the game, the Vancouver Canucks pulled Demko hoping to tie the game late. The plan worked as with 40 seconds left Adam Gaudette fired a slap shot that beat Price top shelf to tie the game at one.
Montreal had yet to win a game in the extra frame going 0-4 (plus 0-2 in the shootout) and hoped to break the slump against a stingy Canucks team. Vancouver managed two solid chances at the end of the game when Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller had chances but Price would stone both of them and the game would be decided by a shootout.
Bo Horvat scored the only goal in that shootout to complete the comeback and beat Montreal 2-1. Nick Suzuki, Jonathan Drouin, and Tomas Tatar had the shots for the Habs. These two teams will meet again on Wednesday night in Vancouver at Rogers Arena with puck drop at 11:00 pm Eastern time.
HabsWorld Habs Three Stars
First Star – Jeff Petry
He scored the lone goal for Montreal and was 40 seconds away from having a game-winning goal but continues one of Montreal’s best defencemen. He was on his game tonight on both sides of the ice and is one of the reasons why Montreal has a solid blue line in the NHL.
Stats: 1 goal, 2 SOG, 1 hit, 2 BLKS, 1 TKA, 26:04 TOI
Second Star – Jesperi Kotkaniemi
Despite the loss, he added a helper on Petry’s goal and continues to improve with every game, and being paired on that new line with Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson seems to have worked and given him confidence in his game.
Stats: 1 assist, 1 SOG, 4 HITS, 16:28 TOI
Third Star – Tomas Tatar
Every game he continues to be an offensive threat on the ice and he continued that in this one even with the loss he did a good job in the offensive zone creating chances off the rush. Tatar added a helper as well and was the last player to shoot and miss on Demko to end the game.
Stats: 1 assist, 2 SOG, 1 TKA, 15:25 TOI
Honourable Mention – Carey Price
He was 40 seconds away from his first shutout of the season and you feel gutted not to get him the win but after struggling recently it seems he is making a comeback. He is not making the same mistakes he was in the previous games and will need to continue to do that if Montreal wants any chance at success.
This was a good step in the right direction and as long as he continues to play like he did in this one he should be fine.
Stats 28 saves, .966 save percentage, 64:52 TOI