Prior to this one, the Habs lost only four regulation games this season, but two of those loses have come at the hands of the Maple Leafs, including the 6-0 shellacking handed to them in the Bell Centre. The 6-0 win also featured physical dominance by the Leafs so this one was expected to be a fiery affair. The Habs added Michael Ryder and PK Subban to the lineup just to make things more difficult.
1) The Leafs are 12-9-0 and this was a loss to the Habs. We don’t like those. “Ole Ole” in the ACC, hell no…
2) It was a relatively slow start by the Leafs which saw the Habs dominating the early shifts. However, it was the Leafs dominating the early hits category (9-1) in the 8th minute of play, with Komarov doing his best impression of the pinball wizard.
3) Mike Brown chips and chases, hits Georges along the boards, the puck bounces to McLaren who gets another bounce and the Leafs are on the board. McLaren now has two goals on the year. Goon this and goon that, but the goon has puck luck.
4) The Leafs started skating towards the end of the 1st but it was then that Emelin scored as the Habs responded with a fourth line goal of their own. Ok, a 6 on 5 powerplay goal, but that’s besides the point. Assists were made by Glass Man and Moen so… a 5 min major for boarding to Mike Brown gave the Canadiens about 4:30 mins of PP time to start the 2nd. That wasn…. moving on.
5) The Canadiens ended up scoring on the powerplay with only 6 seconds left. Scrivens redirects Subban’s one timer to Pacioretty who redirects the puck into the net. Bummer. The Leafs did really well on the kill up to that point but that doesn’t really matter when you get scored on. Still, when the shot count is 21-4 in favor of the Habs up to that point of the hockey game, I don’t know what more one can expect.
6) Carlyle responded to that goal by putting together a line of Jay McClement, Fraser McLaren and Phil Kessel. Yes, you read that right. That McLaren goal does not equal a big enough sample size! Dion Phaneuf followed that with huge giveaway in the neutral zone but Scrivens keeps giving the Leafs a chance.
7) Grabo was the only one flying and gets a penalty shot after a great hustle against Emelin. Looked like he burned all of his speed on the previous play as Price made it look easy. The Leafs get a goal towards the end of the second. A back-breaker type goal for C-Mac. Price mishandles the puck prior to the goal, which keeps the puck in the Habs zone, Franson and Kadri set it up beautifully (as he often does) and we have a tie game.
8) Holzer and Phaneuf didn’t have the best of games, the first line was plain awful (-4 each), but you know who did? Ben Scrivens. He held the fort and gave the team a chance to win this one. That big save on Gallagher comes to mind. Still the Canadiens re-take the lead after Bozak loses a what should have been a repeated draw in the defensive zone. Gorges fires one and Gallagher just tips it in. The visitors also dominated the faceoff circle for the duration of this game. Pacioretty’s second and Gionta’s first just put emphasis on that extra hustle the Habs had on the Leafs tonight.
9) I really like the way Kadri’s maturing. Not only has he retained all of his offensive tools, but he’s also making smart, safe, high percentage plays both in the offensive and defensive zones.
10) More hustle in the third period just wasn’t enough to beat the highly-motivated Canadiens who started playing right from the get go. Good road game from the Habs, who avoided undisciplined play and brought their defensive structure and an avid forecheck tonight. Almost a 2:1 shot advantage for the visiting team. What to do? Move on to the next one.