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PREVIEW GAME #73 Detroit @ Canadiens (March 21/2017)

PREVIEW GAME #73     Detroit @ Canadiens   (March 21/2017)

Mar 21, 2017

Preview Game #73

Detroit vs. Canadiens

Bell Centre – March 21, 2017 – 7:35pm

  Lineup Changes – ….Al Montoya will start in goal after Carey Price worked the back-to-back games over trhe weekend. ….Mike McCarron will be a healthy scratch and Steve Ott will centre the fourth line between Torrey Mitchell and Dwight King.  Otherwise, no changes to the forward lines or defense pairings.  (Detroit & Canadiens lineups below) Season Records – Detroit 71GP (28-32-11) 67 pts. Last in Atlantic Division and 26th in overall league standings. Canadiens – 72gp (41-23-8) 90pts. First in Atlantic Division. Last Ten Games – Detroit (3-6-1) Canadiens (8-2-0) Last Time Out – At Detroit Monday – Buffalo-2 Red Wings-1. Canadiens win 4-1 over Ottawa at Bell Centre Sunday. Home/Road – Detroit on the road (14-16-6) Canadiens at home (21-10-4) – Head-to-Head – …..Season Series – Fourth of five meetings. Canadiens 1-1-1. @Bell Centre Nov. 12th Canadiens-5 Detroit-0. Price with 25 saves for the shutout. Shaw 1g, 2a. Pacioretty & Danault 1g, 1a. Howard started and allowed all 5 goals. Mrazek played the third period. @Detroit Nov. 26th Canadiens-2 Detroit-1 (overtime) Galchenyuk scores game winner in overtime. Price vs. Mrazek. @Detroit Jan. 16th – Red Wings-1 Canadiens-0. Jared Coreau with 18 saves for shutout. Vanek with the goal. Price stops 19 of 20. ….The Canadiens have won the last six games vs. Detroit at the Bell Centre. Detroit’s last win in Montreal was 2-1 in overtime Feb. 26, 2014. The last time Detroit won a Bell Centre game in regulation time was Dec. 4, 2007 (4-1). Dominek Hasek stopped 15 of 16 shots. Since then the Canadiens are 7-0-2 against them at home. ….Over the last thirteen overall meetings with Detroit, the Canadiens 10-3-0 outscoring them 41-25. About the Canadiens – ….This the second of a season-long six game home stand for the Canadiens. When the home stand ends they will play four of their final five games on the road. ….In the 14 games under Claude Julien the Canadiens are 10-4-0. They have scored 29 goals and allowed 30. They have won two straight and 9 of their last 11. ….Among the ten games remaining on the Canadiens schedule, only the Ottawa game next Saturday involves a team that is currently in a playoff position. The other games include; home and away vs. Detroit, Florida and Tampa as well as single home games vs. Dallas and  Carolina and the April 5th game at Buffalo. ….In their last ten home games the Canadiens are 4-5-1. ….The Canadiens have now won seven straight when going into overtime or shootout., ….The Canadiens have trailed going into the third period 31 times. They have come from behind to win a league-leading eleven times. Pittsburgh is second with 8 comeback wins. Nashville & Buffalo with 7. ….The last time Alex Galchenyuk was over 50% in the faceoff circle was March 4th at Madison Square Garden. In the six games since then he has won only 37 or 87 faceoffs – 42.5%. Among regular NHL centres, Galchenyuk has the third worst season success rate at 42.5%. Only Jack Eichel (40.1%) and Logan Couture (39.5%) are behind him. ….Galchenyuk‘s coaches allow him to take an average of only 1.1 defensive zone faceoffs per game. He is at 33.3% in those. ….Food for thought. Andrew Shaw has been asked to take 309 faceoffs this season (5.3 per game). Overall he has won 54.7% of them and 58.6% in the offensive zone. ….The Canadiens have outscored opponents 75-61 in the third period this season and 9-6 in overtime. ….When scoring the game’s first goal the Canadiens are 29-5-5. ….In his last eight games Paul Byron has 6 goals, 2 assists. ….In his last 22 games Max Pacioretty has 21 points (12g, 9a). He has scored points in only one of his last nine games – the two goal night at Edmonton March 12th. ….Eight of Pacioretty‘s 33 goals have come on the Canadiens power play. ….Shea Weber is the last player to register a hattrick against the Red Wings. He scored three goals on them Dec. 5th 2015 while with Nashville – all on the power play. It’s the only 3-goal game of Weber’s career and the only one by a defenseman in Nashville Predators history. ….Weber has 15 goals and 30 points in 54 career games vs. Detroit – 1 goal, 1 assist in three games this season. .…In this game Tomas Plekanec will pass Guy Carbonneau for sole possession of 11th on the Canadiens all-time games-played list at 913. About the Red Wings – ….This is the second of back-to-back games for the Red Wings. Monday night they lost 2-1 in Detroit which ended a 2 game win streak. ….The Wings are 3-6-1 in March and three points out of the Eastern Conference cellar and 26th in the overall league standings. ….Detroit is 6-12-5 against Atlantic Division rivals this season. ….The Wings will miss the playoffs for the first time since 1990. Their 25 year run is the longest active run in North American major league sports and he third longest in NHL history. (By comparison, over the last 25 seasons the Canadiens have missed the playoffs eight times)..With his team leading 21st goal Monday night against Buffalo, Tomas Tatar equaled his total in 81 games last season. Tatar has 4 goals and 2 assists his last 3 games and six goals and nine points in his last six games. ….Henrik Zetterberg assisted on Tatar’s goal for his 60th point of the season. It’s the 8th time in his career he has reached 60 points. The 60 points leads the team and is 22 more than Tatar who is second on the team. ….In 54 games this season Anthony Mantha has 14 goals, 19 assists. He has not registered a point in 6 games. ….Detroit has given up the first goal in 41 of their 71 games with a record of 13-25-3. When they score the first goal they have a 15-7-7 record. – Goaltending – ….Al Montoya will start in goal for the first time since he suffered a 5-0 loss to Calgary March 9th as a late replacement for Price who had come down with the flu. ….Montoya has an 8-6-3 record with a 2.71GAA and .910 save%. ….In his 18 appearances this year Montoya has allowed 48 goals – almost 1/3rd of them in two games (5-0 Calgary & 10-0 at Columbus). Excluding those two games Montoya has a credible 2.10GAA and .927 save%. ….This will be Montoya‘s 4th career appearance vs. Detroit. He is 1-1-0 against them with a 2.06GAA and .928 save%. ….Montoya‘s  last appearance against Detroit was Feb. 8th of last season as a member of the Florida Panthers. He stopped 28 of 31 shots in a 3-0 Panthers loss at the Joe Louis Arena. His other decision came as a member of the Winnipeg Jets three seasons ago – a 4-2 win Nov. 4, 2013 at Winnipeg. His other career appearance against Detroit came as a 23 minute shutout relief appearance after Roberto Luongo had given up 5 goals in a 5-4 loss at Sunrise Jan. 15, 2015. –   ….Jimmy Howard has a career record of 2-3-2 at the Bell Centre. Both wins came in extra time – 3-2 in a shootout Nov. 21st 2009 and in overtime Feb. 26, 2014. He allowed five goals on 25 Canadiens shots in his start at the Bell Centre this season Nov. 12th. Petr Mrazek replaced him for the third period. ….Howard missed 32 games between Dec. 27th and March 8th with a knee injury. In the three starts since his return he is 2-1-0 and given up six goals. ….On the season Howard has been in 20 games with a 7-8-1 record, a 1.97GAA and .933 save%. – Special Teams – ….Power Play – Detroit ranks 29th (31/228) 13.6%. Canadiens rank 12th (42/209) 20.1%. ….Penalty Killing – Detroit ranks 14th (39/208) 82.0%. Canadiens rank 17th (45/233) 80.7%. ….The Nathan Beaulieu goal Sunday against Ottawa ended an 0-for-18 power play drought. It was their first PPG in March. ….The Wings were 0-for-4 on their power play against Buffalo Monday. Prior to that they scored four on their previous ten opportunities. For much of the season they had the worst power play in the league. They now rank 29th. ….On the road the Wings power play is at 9.5% – 30th in the league (10/105)

Projected Canadiens Lines & Pairings

67-Max Pacioretty 27-Alex Galchenyuk 47-Alexander Radulov

62-Artturi Lehkonen 24-Philip Danault 65-Andrew Shaw

41-Paul Byron -14-Tomas Plekanec 11-Brendan Gallagher

21-Dwight King 92-Steve Ott   17-Torrey Mitchell

79-Andrei Markov 6-Shea Weber

74-Alexei Emelin 26-Jeff Petry

28-Nathan Beaulieu 8-Jordie Benn

35-Al Montoya

Injuries – C Brian Flynn (upper body); D Nikita Nesterov (upper body) Scratches – C Mike McCarron; LW Andreas Martinsen; D Brandon Davidson.

Detroit Line Combinations & Pairings

14-Gustav Nyquist 40-Henrik Zetterberg 21-Tomas Tatar

15-Riley Sheahan 51-Frans Nielsen 39-Anthony Mantha

72-Andreas Athanasiou 71-Dylan Larkin 8-Justin Abdelkader

41-Luke Glendening 83-Thomas Nosek 20-Drew Miller

55-Niklas Kronwall 25-Mike Green

65-Dan DeKeyser 3-Nick Jensen

61-Xavier Ouellet 18-Robbie Russo

35-Jimmy Howard

Injuries – C Darren Helm (leg); D Ryan Sproul (LTIR knee); D Jonathan Ericsson (LTIR broken wrist); C Joe Vitale (IR concussion)

Scratches – None

FULL COURT PRESS – Canadiens-4 Ottawa-1 (March 19, 2017)

FULL COURT PRESS – Canadiens-4 Ottawa-1    (March 19, 2017)

Mar 20, 2017

There are about a dozen places we could begin after the 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators, a win that put some distance between first and second in the Atlantic Division.

Top to bottom the Canadiens were solid at both ends of the ice, but most notably in the neutral zone where the Senators game seemed to die time for a good portion of the night. It was a rare night when an entire line was named to the game’s three stars. And We had two defensemen and a forward who had been recent stints in the press box to become big contributors. But, as has been the case so often over the last month, we start in goal.

THE MIRACLE WORKER

There always seems to be a moment when Carey Price will make that save that nobody else on the planet can make.

PREVIEW GAME #72 – Ottawa @ Canadiens (March 19/2017)

PREVIEW GAME #72 –    Ottawa @ Canadiens   (March 19/2017)

Mar 19, 2017

Preview Game #72

Ottawa vs. Canadiens

Bell Centre – March 19, 2017 – 7:35pm

Lineup Changes

….Carey Price in goal. Alexei Emelin returns to the lineup – will be paired with Jeff Petry. Mike McCarron returns to fourth line with Torrey Mitchell and Dwight King.

….D Brandon Davidson & C Steve Ott will be healthy scratches.

Season Records – Ottawa – 70GP (39-23-8) 86pts. Second in Atlantic Division. Canadiens – 71GP (40-23-8) 88pts. First in Atlantic Division.

Last Ten Games – Ottawa 6-2-2. Canadiens 8-2-0

Last Time Out – Canadiens edge Senators 4-3 in shootout at Ottawa

Home/Road – Ottawa on the road (20-12-0). Canadiens at home (20-10-4)

Head-to-Head

….Season series – third of five meetings. Ottawa has won two of three meetings. Two games decidd in shootouts. @Ottawa Oct. 15 – Ottawa-4 Canadiens-3 (shootout). Erik Karlsson scores shootout winner in fourth round. Tom Pyatt tied the game with 2.33 remaining. @Bell Centre Nov. 22nd Ottawa-4 Canadiens-3. Canadiens blow 3-2 third period lead with goals by Mark Stone and Karlsson. Canadiens outshoot Ottawa 39-23. Price vs. Anderson. @Ottawa March. 18- Canadiens-4 Ottawa-3 (shootout). Canadiens come back in third on goals by Danault & Gallagher. Karlsson sends game to overtime. Byron & Radulov score in shootout.

….The shootout win Saturday night was only the Canadiens third in the last ten games against the Senators (3-5-2). They have won only four of the last 12 games in Ottawa (4-5-3)

….Since the Canadiens last played the Senators at the Bell Centre (Nov. 22nd) the Canadiens have a record of 26-19-6 for 58 points. Ottawa is 28-16-7 for 63 points.

….Over the last 7 meetings the Canadiens are 3-2-1 vs. Ottawa. Both losses came in overtime.

….In the last 15 games in the regular season series the Canadiens have a 6-6-3 record and over the last six seasons their record is 18-7-7. Twelve of those 32 games were decided in either overtime or shootout including two of the three this season.

….The Canadiens have eleven games remaining on their schedule – seven of them at home. Ottawa has 12 games remaining – only three at home.

About the Canadiens

….The Canadiens are looking to sweep their second straight set of back-to-back games. Feb. 27-28 they edged New Jersey and Columbus (both games in overtime). They are 7-4-2 in the second half of the two-game sets.

….This the first of a season-long six game home stand for the Canadiens. When the home stand ends they will play four of their final five games on the road.

….In the 13 games under Claude Julien the Canadiens are 9-4-0. They have scored 25 goals and allowed 29.

….In their last ten home games the Canadiens are 2-5-1.

….The Canadiens have now won seven straight when going into overtime or shootout.,

….The Canadiens have trailed going into the third period 31 times. They have come from behind to win a league leading eleven times. Pittsburgh is second with 8 comeback wins. Nashville & Buffalo with 7. (Ottawa is 4-16-2 when trailing into the third period).

….The Canadiens have outscored opponents 73-61 in the third period this season and 9-6 in overtime.

….When scoring the game’s first goal the Canadiens are 28-5-5.

….Shea Weber has a point in seven straight games vs. Senators (4g, 4a),

….Weber and Andrei Markov lead the Canadiens vs. Ottawa this season with 1 goal, 3 assists each.

….Andrei Markov‘s next assist will move him ahead of Saku Koivu into 6th on the Canadiens all-time assists list at 450. The only defenseman ahead of him is Larry Robinson at 686 assists. All five ahead of him, Lafleur, Beliveau, Henri Richard, Robinson and Lemaire are in the Hall of Fame.

….In his last seven games Paul Byron has 5 goals, 1 assist.

….Career vs. Ottawa Tomas Plekanec has 43 points in 66 games (17g, 26a)

….In his last six games Paul Byron has 5 goals, 1 assist.

….Career vs. Ottawa Tomas Plekanec has 43 points in 65 games (17g, 26a).

….In his last 21 games Max Pacioretty has 21 oints (12g, 9a).

….Eight of Pacioretty‘s 33 goals have come on the Canadiens power play.

….In 33 games against Ottawa Pacioretty has 22 points (11g, 11a)

About the Senators

….After a six game winning streak the Senators have lost three in a row. However they have at least a point in eight of their last nine games.

….Since January 15th the Senators have picked up 38 points in 29 games and have gained 10 points on the Canadiens in the standings. (Over the same stretch the Canadiens 28 points in 27 games since mid January).

….When the Senators score the first goal they have a record of 26-4-2.

….In his last 11 games Erik Karlsson has 13 points (4g.9a) and in his last 32 games he has 33 points (7g, 26a). In 34 career games vs. the Canadiens Karlsson has 30 points; 9g, 21assists.

….Kyle Turris leads the Senators with 23 goals in 66 games. Karlsson leads in points with 65 in 70 games.

….Against the Canadiens this season Karlsson and Derek Brassard lead the Senators with 5 points in three games (2g, 3a each)

….Mike Hoffman has 11 points 2g,9a) his last eleven games.

….In 13 games against the Canadiens Jean-Gabriel Pageau has 9 points (6g, 3a)

Goaltending

….In his last 8 starts Carey Price is 7-1 with a 1.60GAA and .942save%. In those games he’s allowed one goal 5-times and 2 goals once and three goals his last two starts. ….In his last eleven starts he has a record of 8-3 with a 1.70GAA and .938 save%.

….Price has started games on consecutive nights only once this season but only because he was pulled in the second period of a 4-2 loss to San Jose December 16th and then started the next night against Washington and made 20 saves in a 2-1 win.

….On the season Price has started 54 games with a 32-17-8 record with 3 shutouts, 2.28GAA and .922 save%.

….Career vs. Ottawa Price is 18-8-4 in 32 games with 3 shutouts, a 2.46GAA and .916save%.

….In his last 16 regular season and playoff games against the Canadiens Craig Anderson has a record of 10-3-3.

….Anderson‘s career regular season record vs. the Canadiens is 10-8-3 with a 3.06GAA and .900 save% in 22 games.

….Anderson is 6-0-1 and has given up thirteen goals in his last seven starts.

….In 31 starts this season Anderson is 21-8-2 with 4 shutoutrs,; 2.25GAA and .929save%.

.Mike Condon is 18-12-6 on the season with a 2.52GAA and .914 save%. He has one win in his last five starts (1-3-1)

.Condon has never played against the Canadiens. With the Canadiens last season he was 21-25-6 with a 2.71GAA and .903save%.

Special Teams

….Power Play – Ottawa ranks 21st (39/219) 17.8%. Canadiens rankd 14th (41/206) 19.9%.

….Penalty Killing – Ottawa ranks 12th (39/217) 82.0%. Canadiens ranked 17th (45/231) 80.5%.

….In the thirteen games under Claude Julien the Canadiens power play has produced 4 goals in 33 opportunities (12.1%) but their penalty kill has been 88.8% (3/27).

….The Canadiens power play has failed to produce a goal in the last seven games (0/15). Their last power play goal was scored in overtime by Alex Galchenyuk Feb. 28th vs. Nashville.

Canadiens Lines & Pairings

67-Max Pacioretty 27Alex Galchenyuk 47-Alexander Radulov

62-Artturi Lehkonen 24-Philip Danault 65-Andrew Shaw

41-Paul Byron 14-Tomas Plekanec 11-Brendan Gallagher

21-Dwight King  17-Torrey Mitchell  34-Mike McCarron

79-Andrei Markov 6-Shea Weber

74-Alexei Emelin  26-Jeff Petry

28-Nathan Beaulieu – 8-Jordie Benn

31-Carey Price

Injuries – C Brian Flynn (upper body); D Nikita Nesterov (upper body)

Scratches – ; LW Andreas Martinsen; ; D Brandon Davidson; C Steve Ott

Ottawa Forward Lines & Pairings

18-Ryan Dzingel 7-Kyle Turris 15-Zack Smith

14-Alexandre Burrows 19-Derick Brassard 9-Bobby Ryan

68-Mike Hoffman 44-Jean-Gabriel Pageau 10-Tom Pyatt

24-Viktor Stalberg 22-Chris Kelly 57-Tommy Wingels

3-Marc Methot 65-Erik Karlsson

2-Dion Phaneuf 5-Cody Ceci

33-Fredrik Claesson 6-Chris Wideman

41-Craig Anderson

1-Mike Condon

Injuries – RW Mark Stone (lower Body); D Mark Borowiecki (lower body); RW Chris Neil (broken finger); LW Clark MacArthur (LTIR concussion).

Scratches – D Jyrki Jokipakka; C Chris DiDomenico

ANOTHER COMEBACK – Canadiens-4 Ottawa-3 (Shootout) March 18, 2017

ANOTHER COMEBACK –  Canadiens-4 Ottawa-3 (Shootout)  March 18, 2017

Mar 19, 2017

In this decade’s version of the NHL, trailing a game heading into the third period is almost a sure path to defeat.

Apparently the Canadiens haven’t read the memo. They scored two goals on their first three third period shots to take a lead, gave up a late goal and then won in a shootout to move two points ahead of the Senators in what is clearly a very intense battle to win the Atlantic Division.

This season the Canadiens have trailed going into the third period 31 times and somehow have managed to come back to win eleven times. No team in the league comes even close to accomplishing eleven comeback wins.

I suppose we can post all kinds of theories about this phenomenon but I think it comes down to speed. When the Canadiens have their skating legs they tend to wear down opponents through the first two periods and then take advantage. How else to explain the Canadiens 73-61 third period edge in third period goals after scoring 47 in the first and 60 in the second.   And they have outscored opponents 9-6 in overtime.

LEFT THE DOOR OPEN

The Canadiens played the first half of this game well enough to have mounted a considerable lead. But as we’ve seen more often than not this season, Montreal goals are hard to come by. A badly timed penalty to Philip Danault led to a power play goal midway through the second and the Senators, feeding off the momentum, took the lead just over a minute later while outshooting the Canadiens 9-2 through the last nine minutes of the period.

LADY LUCK

Lack of puck-luck on the part of the Canadiens is something that might be self induced.  But in this game the hockey gods might be credited for the Canadiens comeback.  Philip Danault got a nice bounce in front of the Ottawa goal to tie the game and somehow Brendan Gallagher, who had another of his relentless nights, found a hole on Craig Anderson from a nearly impossible angle to give the Canadiens the lead.

PLAYOFF RUN

One could nitpick about this game but in the end it was a terrific bit of entertainment. I would have liked to see the Canadiens so-called “good players” playing more effectively; meaning, the top line of Galchenyuk, Pacioretty and Radulov, especially Galchenyuk who seems to have trouble maintaining game-to-game consistency. But they did work hard and Danault, Andrew Shaw and Artturi Lehkonen made up for whatever was missing from the top line. That line produced the first two Canadiens goals, five scoring points and twelve of the Canadiens 32 shots. Second best line was Plekanec/Byron/Gallagher.

WORTH MENTIONING

….It was another dreadful night on the faceoff dots. The Canadiens lost almost two thirds of the them with Galchenyuk at 29% and Plekanec at 38%. The Karlsson goal that sent the game into overtime came off a clean faceoff win from Danault by Derek Brassard.

….The Canadiens came into the game ranked 27th on the road in penalty killing and gave up another one. At the same time the Canadiens power play has now gone seven games without a goal.

….For those keeping score at home, seven of the Canadiens last ten wins have come in either overtime or shootout.

….As I wrote earlier, all nitpicking. They won the game on the road. How they did it isn’t very important in the long run.

MOVING ON

The second half of the back to back games will be at the Bell Centre Sunday night. The Canadiens enter that game with a two point lead over the Senators who still have that pesky game in hand. This game will start a six game home stand, their longest of the season. After the Senators it will be Detroit Tuesday, Carolina Thursday, Ottawa again next Saturday followed by Dallas and Florida to close out the month. At first glance it appears to be a favourable schedule but these things have been known to come off the rails.  And if 93 points is the cutoff point for making the playoffs ass eems to be conventional wisdom, the Canadiens need tow in three of their final eleven games to clinch a spot in the post-season show.

PREVIEW GAME #71 Canadiens @ Ottawa (March 18, 2017)

PREVIEW GAME #71   Canadiens @ Ottawa   (March 18, 2017)

Mar 18, 2017

Preview Game #71

Canadiens vs. Ottawa

Canadian Tire Centre – March 18, 2017 – 7:10pm

Lineup Changes

….Alexei Emelin will be a healthy scratch for the second time in five games. Brandon Davidson will be paired with Jeff Petry.

….Nathan Beaulieu returns after being scratched against Chicago and will be paired with Jordie Benn.

Season Records – Canadiens – 70gp (39-23-80 86pts. First in Atlantic Division. Ottawa – 69GP (39-23-7) 85pts. Second in Atlantic Division.

Last Ten Games – Canadiens 7-3-0. Ottawa 8-2-0.

Last Time Out – Canadiens lost at home to Chicago 4-2 Tuesday. Senators lost to Chicago 2-1 at home Thursday.

Home-Road – Canadiens on the Road (19-13-4) Ottawa at home (19-11-7)

Head to Head

….The Canadiens and Senators have identical 39-23 win/loss records.  The one point difference in the standings is “loser points”.  The Canadiens have eight, Ottawa 7 leaving the Senators with their game in hand.

….The Canadiens have not played Ottawa in amost four months and now will play them three times in eight nights.

….The Canadiens have lost both games against Ottawa this season, one in a shootout. @Ottawa Oct. 15 – Ottawa-4 Canadiens-3 (shootout). Erik Karlsson scored game winning in shootout fourth round. Tom Pyatt tied the game with 2:33 remaining. @Bell Centre Nov. 22nd Ottawa-4 Canadiens-3. Canadiens blow 3-2 third period lead with goals by Mark Stone and Erik Karlsson. Canadiens outshoot Ottawa 39-23. Price vs. Anderson.

….Over the last 6 meetings the Canadiens are 2-2-1 vs. Ottawa. Both losses came in overtime.

….In the last 14 games in the series the Canadiens have a 5-6-3 record and over the last six seasons their record is 17-7-7. Eleven of th0se 32 games were decided in either overtime or shootout.

….The Canadiens have won only five of their last sixteen games in Ottawa.

….Against Atlantic Division opponents this season the Canadiens are 12-3-5 this season. Ottawa has an 11-10-2 record vs. the Atlantic Division.

About the Canadiens

….The Canadiens are 8-4-0 since Claude Julien took over the team on February 14th. They have won 7 of their last nine games.

….This is the 14th of 15 scheduled back-to-back games for the Canadiens this season. In opening games they are 6-6-1. They swept their last back-to-back set (vs. New Jersey and Columbus); winning both games in overtime.

….The Canadiens are 6-1-0 in their last seven on the road.

….Alex Galchenyuk has 3 goals, 7 assists in his last nine games.

….Galchenyuk has four overtime goals this season. The season record for most OT goals is 5, set by Stephen Stamkos in 2011-12 and equaled last season by Jonathan Toews.

….In his last six games Paul Byron has 5 goals, 1 assist.

….Career vs. Ottawa Tomas Plekanec has 43 points in 65 games (17g, 26a).

….In his last 20 games Max Pacioretty has 21 points (12g, 9a).

….Eight of Pacioretty‘s 33 goals have come on the Canadiens power play.

….Pacioretty has 22 points (11g, 11a) in 32 Ottawa games.

….Andrew Shaw is fifth in the league in penalty minutes with 103, including 5 majors (4 for fighting), 2 misconducts, 1 game misconduct and 19 minors. (Ottawa’s Mark Borwiecki leads at 126 minutes)

….Andrei Markov‘s next assist will tie him with Saku Koivu for 6th in Canadiens all-time assists at 450.

….When the Canadiens score the first goal, the Canadiens are 27-5-5.

….Seventy-two years ago today, March 18, 1945 Maurice Richard became the first to scored 50 goals in a season. His 50th goal came with 2:15 remaining in the 50th and final game of the season, a 4-2 win in Boston. 41 of his 50 goals came in the final 22 games of the season. It would be 16 years before Bernie Geoffrion equaled the record in a 70 game season and 36 years before Mike Bossy scored 50 goals in 50 games.

….March 18th is also the 125th anniversary of the 1892 donation of the Stanley Cup by Lord Stanley of Preston, originally presented to “the championship hockey club of the Dominion of Canada.”

About the Senators

….After a six game winning streak the Senators have lost their last two games (2-1 in overtime vs. Tampa Tuesday and 2-1 vs. Chicago Thursday).

….Since January 15th the Senators have picked up 37 points in 28 games and gained eleven points on the Canadiens in the standings. (The Canadiens have 26 points in 26 games since mid January)

….In 33 career games against the Canadiens Erik Karlsson has 28 points; 8 goals and 20 assists.

….Dion Phaneuf has 28 points in 38 games vs. the Canadiens (9g, 19a).

….Jean-Gabriel Pageau has 9 points in 12 games vs. Montreal (6g, 3a).

….Kyle Turris leads the Senators with 23 goals in 66 games. Erik Karlsson leads in points with 63 in 69 games.

….Erik Karlsson has three goals, eight assists in his last ten games.

….Mike Hoffman has ten points (2g, 8a) his last ten games.

….When the Senators score the game’s first goal they are 26-4-2.

Goaltending

….In 53 games this season Carey Price has a 31-17-5 record with a 2.27GAA and .922 save%.

….Vs. the Senators Price has been in 31 games with a 17-8-4, three shutouts, 2.45GAA and .917save%.

….The loss to Chicago Tuesday was Price‘s first in seven games (6-1-0). Three of the wins came in overtime and another in a shootout.

….Price has won five in a row on the road. In the five games he has given up seven goals for a 1.37GAA and .951save%. His overall road record this season is 12-8-2 in 22 starts with a 2.51GAA and .913save%.

….After giving up two goals in New York and Toronto Price has given up one goal in each of his last three road starts.

….Craig Anderson has been in 30 Ottawa games this season with a 21-8-4 record, 2.23GAA and .930save%.

….Career vs. Montreal Anderson has appeared in 21 games vs. Montreal with a 10-8-2 with 0 shutouts, a 3.07GAA and .900save%.

….Anderson is 6-0-0 and has given up ten goals in his last six starts.

 

….Mike Condon is 18-12-6 on the season with a 2.52GAA and .914 save%. He has one win in his last five starts (1-3-1)

….Condon has never played against the Canadiens. With the Canadiens last season he was 21-25-6 with a 2.71GAA and .903save%.

Special Teams

….Power Play – Canadiens ranked 12th (41/204) 20.1% Ottawa ranks 21st (38/215) 17.7%.

….Penalty Killing – Canadiens ranked 19th (44/227) 80.6%. Ottawa ranked 12th (39/215) 81.9%.

….The Canadiens power play has not produced in six games (0-for-13). Over the same six games Canadiens penalty killers given up one goal in eight times shorthanded.

….On the road the Canadiens power play ranks 6th in the league (21.8%). However, their road penalty killing ranks 27th at 76.1%.

….In their last ten games at home Ottawa’s power play is 3-for-32.

Canadiens Lines & Pairings

67-Max Pacioretty 27Alex Galchenyuk 47-Alexander Radulov

62-Artturi Lehkonen 24-Philip Danault 65-Andrew Shaw

41-Paul Byron 14-Tomas Plekanec 11-Brendan Gallagher

21-Dwight King 92-Steve Ott 17-Torrey Mitchell

79-Andrei Markov 6-Shea Weber

88-Brandon Davidson 26-Jeff Petry

28-Nathan Beaulieu – 8-Jordie Benn

31-Carey Price

Injuries – C Brian Flynn (upper body); D Nikita Nesterov (upper body)

Scratches – D Alexei Emelin;  LW Andreas Martinsen; C Mike McCarron;

Ottawa Forward Lines & Pairings

18-Ryan Dzingel 7-Kyle Turris 15-Zack Smith

14-Alexandre Burrows 19-Derick Brassard 9-Bobby Ryan

68-Mike Hoffman 44-Jean-Gabriel Pageau 10-Tom Pyatt

24-Viktor Stalberg 22-Chris Kelly 57-Tommy Wingels

3-Marc Methot 65-Erik Karlsson

2-Dion Phaneuf 5-Cody Ceci

74-Mark Borowiecki  6-Chris Wideman

41-Craig Anderson

1-Mike Condon

Injuries – RW Mark Stone (lower Body); ; RW Chris Neil (broken finger); LW Clark MacArthur (LTIR concussion).

Scratches – D Jyrki Jokipakka; C Chris DiDomenico; D Fredrik Claesson

 

NO REWARD – Chicago-4 Canadiens-2 (March 14, 2017)

NO REWARD – Chicago-4 Canadiens-2    (March 14, 2017)

Mar 15, 2017

At least they weren’t shut out.

Close.  But the Canadiens saved themselves from the indignity of being shutout for the seventh time in their last seventeen games by a goal from Paul Byron with just under eight minutes left and then Shea Weber prevented the Canadiens from being held to one goal or fewer for the tenth time in the last seventeen games when he narrowed the score to 3-2. But there was no repeat of the Edmonton comeback on thise night.

PAYING THE PIPER

When the Canadiens make mistakes, and Alexei Emelin made a couple of doozies leading up to Chicago’s first two goals, they wind up in their own net. When Canadiens opponents make mistakes, the best that seems to happen is a hail-mary goalmouth scramble seldom resulting in a goal. That’s the way it is with this version of the team.

WORK ETHIC

No question the Canadiens brought their lunch buckets to the Bell Centre Tuesday night. For most of the game they outworked the Hawks. Those mistakes and an inability to answer back led to what is now the sixth loss in the last eight games at home.

THE GOAT

I’ve mentioned it before on this site and I’ll say it again; for whatever reason Alexei Emelin is a better defenseman when he plays alongside Shea Weber than he does with Jeff Petry. It probably comes down to the fact that when Emelin commits himself to one of those ill-advised position-vacating moves of his Weber, in his matter-of-fact way, almost always has his back. Petry isn’t Shea Weber.

On Chicago’s first goal, Artem Anisimov beat Emelin once at centre ice and then using the same move, again inside the blueline to score. He was beaten badly on the second goal as well and it was pretty much lights out from there. It was after the third goal that Claude Julien started to juggle his defense. He didn’t bench Emelin however, something that would have happened under another Canadiens coach.

NO REWARD

Brendan Gallagher registered another six shots on goal to lead both teams. He now has 30 shots on goal over his last six games, an average of 5 per game. All he has to show for a ton of hard, bruising work in front of the opposition net in those six games is a goal and assist.

LETHAL WEAPON

Shea Weber made this game close when he scored the goal to narrow the lead to 3-2 with 3 ½ minutes remaining, his 16th of the season. But the shot that will be remembered came during a second period power play when one of his 105 mile per hour specials hit Corey Crawford square on the face mask. In another era Crawford would have been hospitalized. He shook it off and continued.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….Another goal for Paul Byron, his 19th of the season. Over his last four games he has four goals, 2 assists.

….Interesting to note when Julien started to fiddle with his defense pairings he had Jordie Benn playing with Shea Weber for three shifts in the final ten minutes without any drama to speak of. Benn was his defense partner when Weber scored his goal. The newcomer Brandon Davidson moved up to play a few shifts with Markov late in the game as well.

MOVING ON

The Canadiens will have the day off Wednesday and then for the first time since he took over the team, Claude Julien will have two consecutive days of practice time. Then it’s the Senators Saturday night in Ottawa and Sunday night at the Bell Centre. Between now and then the Senators will pick up one of the two games in hand they hold over the Canadiens against Chicago Thursday at home. After their overtime loss to Tampa Tuesday night Ottawa is one point behind the Canadiens in the Atlantic Division.

PREVIEW GAME #70 Chicago @ Canadiens (March 14/2017)

PREVIEW GAME #70    Chicago @ Canadiens     (March 14/2017)

Mar 14, 2017

Preview Game #70

Chicago vs. Canadiens

Bell Centre – March 14, 2017 – 7:35pm

Season Records – Chicago – 68GP (43-20-5) 91pts. Second in Central Division. Canadiens – 69GP (39-22-8) 86pts. First in Atlantic Division.

Last Ten Games – Chicago – (8-2-0) Canadiens (8-2-0)

Last Time Out – Blackhawks beat Minnesota 4-2 at Chicago Sunday. Minnesota Canadiens defeat Oilers 4-1 in Edmonton Sunday.

Home/Road – Chicago on the Road (20-11-1) Canadiens at Home (20-9-4)

Lineup Changes – TBA

Head to Head

….Second of two meetings – Nov. 13th @ Chicago – Blackhawks-3 Canadiens-2. Patrick Kane with winning goal. Al Montoya vs. Cory Crawford.

,,,,Chicago is 6-0 in the last six meetings (0-5-1) and outscored the Canadiens 22-10.

….The Hawks have taken at least a point in ten straight games vs. the Canadiens (8-0-2). The last time the Hawks went ten in a row against the Canadiens without a loss is 1966-67 – 3 wins & 7 ties.

….Chicago has won their last two games at the Bell Centre, their only two wins in Montreal dating back to Dec. 3, 2001. Over that stretch the Hawks are 2-3-3 in Montreal. The Canadiens have won 13 of the last 18 home games against Chicago.

About the Canadiens

….At the season’s mid-point the Canadiens led the entire league in goal scoring with 125 goals in 41 games (3.04 per game). In the twenty-eight games since the Canadiens have averaged 2.29 per game (64goals) and have fallen to 14th in the league.

….Over their last 28 games the Canadiens have been outscored 75-64 but have a 14-12-2 record.

….Following the game in Edmonton, the game-winning goal originally credited to Alex Galchenyuk was officially changed to Max Pacioretty, giving him two in the game and 33 for the season. With 33 he is now tied for second in the league with Evgeni Malkin and Patrik Laine. Sidney Crosby leads with 35.

….No member of the Canadiens has led the league in goalscoring since Guy Lafleur‘s 1977-78 60-goal season.

….Over the last six seasons Pacioretty has scored 39 game winning goals, second only to Alex Ovechkin. He is also second to Ovechkin in even strength goals (140). He has 187 total goals (4th most).

….In nine career games vs. the Hawks Pacioretty has 1 goal, 2 assists.

….Over the last three games Paul Byron has 3 goals and 2 assists and is plus-6. In his previous 13 games he had zero points and was minus-4.

About the Black Hawks

….The Blackhawks are 5th in the overall league standings. They trail Minnesota by a point in Central Division and the Western Conference.

….In their 16 games since Feb first the Blackhawks are 13-3-1.

….Chicago ranks seventh in goals per game at 2.96 and eight in goals against at 2.50.

….Chicago allows 31.3 shots per game while producing 30.3 shots per game.

….Artemi Panarin has seven points (2g, 5a) over his last eight games.

….Patrick Kane has 43 assists. Since Feb. 2nd he is third in the NHL with 24 points in 16 games (15g, 9a) trailing only Jack Eichel and Nikita Kucherov. His 73 points are third in the league.

….Kane has reached the 30 goal plateau Sunday against Minnesota.

….This will be the 1299th game of Marian Hossa‘s career which started with Ottawa in 1998. At age 38 he has 22 goals and 39 points in 62 games.

Goaltending

….Carey Price has a career record of 3-3-0 vs. Chicago with a 2.49GAA.

….This season Price is 31-16-5 with a 2.26 GAA and a .923 save percentage.

….Price has won his last six starts. Over that stretch he has a 0.99GAA and .963 save%.

….Over his last nine appearances Price is 7-2-0 with a 1.31 GAA, a .952 save% and one shutout.

….Corey Crawford has a career record of 6-0-2 vs. the Canadiens with a .951 save% and 1.49GAA

….On the season Crawford is 27-15-3 with a 2.54GAA and .919 save%.

Special Teams

….Power Play – Chicago ranked 17th (36/192) 18.8% Canadiens ranked 12th (41/202) 20.3%

….Penalty Killing – Chicago ranked 27th (39/175) 77.7% Canadiens ranked 17th (44/226) 80.5%.

….The Canadiens power play has failed to score in the last five games – 0-for-11.

….Chicago is 10-for-10 on the penalty kill in March.

 

Projected Canadiens Lines & Pairings

67-Max Pacioretty 24-Philip Danault 65-Andrew Shaw

62-Artturi Lehkonen 27-Alex Galchenyuk 47-Alexander Radulov

41-Paul Byron 14-Tomas Plekanec 11-Brendan Gallagher

21-Dwight King 92-Steve Ott 17-Torrey Mitchell

79-Andrei Markov 6-Shea Weber

74-Alexei Emelin 26-Jeff Petry

88-Brandon Davidson – 8-Jordie Benn

31-Carey Price

Injuries – C Brian Flynn (upper body)

Scratches – D Brandon Davidson; D Nikita Nesterov; LW Andreas Martinsen; C Mike McCarron;

Chicago Forward Lines & Pairings

8-Nick Schmaltz 19-Jonathan Toews 14-Richard Panik

72-Artemi Panarin 15-Artem Anisimov 88-Patrick Kane

38-Ryan Hartman 67-Tanner Kero 81-Marian Hossa

11-Andrew Desjardins 16-Marcus Kruger 22-Jordin Tootoo

2-Duncan Keith 7-Brent Seabrook

51-Brian Campbell 57-Trevor van Riemsdyk

27-Johnny Oduya 4-Niklas Hjalmarsson

50-Corey Crawford

Injuries – none

Scratches – D Michal Kempny; D Michal Rozsival; D Dennis Rasmussen; RW Tomas Jurco; C John Hayden

A TIMELY COMEBACK -Canadiens-4 Edmonton-1 (March 12, 2017)

A TIMELY COMEBACK -Canadiens-4  Edmonton-1   (March 12, 2017)

Mar 12, 2017

Give them credit. The Canadiens stuck with it through a tough slog in Edmonton and were rewarded in the end for a long frustrating night.

The Canadiens finally scored on their 37th shot on goal and again on their 38th just over a minute later and then popped in two empty net goals to win the game 4-1.

The Canadian West has been a mortuary for the Canadiens over the last fifteen years, so taking two of three games out there is noteworthy.

This one was made more important because it allowed the Canadiens to take back the lead in the Atlantic Division from Ottawa which will set up one of the most interesting regular season weeks in years with the Canadiens facing the Senators three times in eight days.

BAD IRISH LUCK

If there an award for poor ‘puck luck’ in the NHL’s 2016-2017 season, Brendan Gallagher would be one of the front runners. Since he came back from his broken hand he has been the hardest working member of the Canadiens on a nightly basis and his only reward in eleven games was a goal against Nashville, albeit an important one that sent the game into overtime.

There is no question from which direction the positive energy came in this game. Gallagher was all over the ice. Through the first two periods he led both teams with six shots on goal. It was his effort down deep against some fierce checking that started the sequence leading to the goal that tied the game at one. Nobody has earned the right to have a productive stretch to his season that Gallagher after the kind of year he has had.

ABOUT A GOALTENDER

Carey Price may be another to have shaken the monkey from his back.

Since he came into the league ten years ago, no NHL team has frustrated him more than the Oilers. Price  went into this game with seven consecutive losses against Edmonton dating back to March 2009. He had one career win and had never won in Edmonton. Two minutes before Byron put the Canadiens on the board at 13:33 of the third period Price shut down a Draisaitl to Maroon goalmouth pass and seconds used his glove hand on a labeled shot by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

All you ask is that you goaltender give a team a chance to win. For the ninth straight game, Price did that.  It was Price’s 6th straight win on the road by the way.

OUT OF THE SICK BAY

Paul Byron was considered doubtful for this game after fighting off a flu bug on Saturday. There he was doing what he does, which is using his speed to beat almost everyone on the ice to the puck. Byron slipped past the Oilers defense to take Phillip Danault’s pass for the tying goal and then Claude Julien had him on the ice in the final minute to protect a one goal lead and wound up adding his 18th goal of the season and an assist. Eighteen goals make him the Canadiens second leading scorer behind Max Pacioretty’s 32.

ONE FOR THE COACH

Some credit to Claude Julien. He started shuffling his lines as early as the second period and by the third had settled on Pacioretty up on the line with Galchenyuk and Radulov and the combination of Danault/Gallagher Byron.

Those lines won the game for the Canadiens.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….The fourth line had some things to say in this game. Steve Ott led the Canadiens with four hits and seemed to have a running thing going with the Oilers first line left wing Patrick Maroon. Mike McCarron was in a vigorous first period scrap with Darnell Nurse and Dwight King did a lot of the dog work in the corners.

….Lots of energy from the third line too. Especially Andrew Shaw, although he made us wince when he picked up that tripping penalty in the offensive zone while he was on a power play.

….Jeff Petry shared the game lead in shots with Gallagher at six. He also blocked six shots.

….With Tomas Plekanec out with his injury, the Canadiens had a rough night at the faceoff dots. Galchenyuk was best at 42%. Mitchell won only 4 of 15.

,,,,Full marks to one-half of the special teams. The penalty killing was excellent especially during that four minute high sticking penalty to Alexei Emelin. The power play looked terrible for the tenth straight game.

MOVING ON

In light of the Canadiens history in Alberta and British Columbia four of a possible six points is a totally respectable way to finish that road trip.

Canadiens return home to face Chicago Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. That game is a prelude to the Senators series which starts home and home in Ottawa next Saturday and Sunday in Montreal. The Canadiens will then face Detroit and Carolina at home Tuesday and Thursday before they play the Senators again the following Saturday at the Bell Centre. All part of a six game home stand to finish the month of March.