Montreal visited the Canucks on Saturday night and came out with a 4-1 victory.
Carey Price, B.C. native, played his best game thus far, stopping 39 of 40 shots. His presence in net was a calming factor for the team. Save for one turnover by Diaz which lead to the Sedin goal in the second, he should've earned a shutout for the club. His performance was highlighted by a great pad stop on Jason Garrison during a Canucks power-play in the early going.
Lars Eller can do no wrong. He logged in a short-handed goal, continuing his stellar early season play. While this goal will hardly be considered intentional and will likely not be seen again for some time. During a routine dump and change, the puck sailed off of defenceman's Dan Hamhuis' stick, getting lost in Roberto Luongo's skates before crossing the line.
It would be that kind of night for the Canucks as nothing they did seemed to have any impact on the Canadiens play.
The match-up of the evening was the defense pairing of Gorges and Diaz against the top line for the Canucks. Despite allowing the one goal, the tandem was otherwise perfect in limiting the twins scoring chances and keeping the lead. Both even managed to get on the scoresheet, Diaz would log 2 helpers and Gorges even managed to score a goal in front of his grandmother in attendance! A glimpse of that footage made everyone smile.
The Gorges goal was not simply a just dessert for the defenceman, but also a great desert for the Habs' 4th line. With captain Gionta at home due to a personal issue, Bournival was called upon again to play with White and Moen. Moen's faceoff win to Diaz lead to the goal. They played incredibly well, given that coach Tortorella was constantly using the final change in order to send the twins out while the 4th line was making their way onto the ice.
Quitely having a good game was Tomas Plekanec. The early going of the season has centered around the play of the young Canadiens and tonight Plekanec showed why he is an important part of the puzzle. He lead all forwards in short-handed TOI, finishing second total among forwards and he had an assist on the power-play on the Pacioretty goal. His game was not flashy but it was effective, and more of these performances need to occur to keep the teams winning ways alive.
A line that was practically invisible Saturday night: Desharnais, Bourque and Prust. The fact that they did not stand out could be seen as a positive, since they didn't concede anything either, meaning the team didn't lose any points. The concern going forward is that it is only so long before they encounter a team with more depth that will make the most of their match-up. Give coach Therrien credit for allowing them to try and find some chemistry but they'll need to start producing.
The west coast trip wraps up in Winnipeg on Tuesday night. The opportunity to win 3 of 4 games against the perennially difficult western conference match-ups is one the Canadiens will embrace. Their last couple of performances indicate they are making strides towards their chase for the post-season.
Sunday, October 13, 2013
9:45 AM Paolo Mingarelli 2 comments