The Canadiens scored three goals on their first five shots in the third period to break open a scoreless hockey game and went on to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 Monday night at the Bell Centre. It was the Canadiens fourth win in a row and their tenth in 15 games this season and the victory moved them ahead of Boston into first place in the Northeast Division. The Bruins have played two fewer games.
Peter Budaj, playing his second game in a row, stopped 19 Carolina shots for the shutout. Brandon Prust, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty scored the goals.
The game’s three stars were Budaj, Prust and Pacioretty.
It was the fir st of four games in six nights for the Canadiens. They’ll play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night.
…..They Brought Their Lunch Pails – The game settled into a battle of wills almost from the opening faceoff. There were only a total of twelve shots in the period and only three clear scoring chances, all by the Canadiens.
…..The Good P.K.– Subban threw two old fashioned hard hip checks in the game. Early in the first period he flattened Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin in the first period and six minutes later did the same thing to Patrick Dwyer.
…..The Bad P.K. Midway through the second period while on a power play he stuck his leg out on Semin while in the offensive zone in what appeared to be another one of his slew foot. It got him a two minute penalty.
…..Galchenyuk – Another one of his good nights. He jumped to the defence of Subban when Patrick Dwyer took exception to that big first period hip check. He had four shots on goals, every one of them a scoring chance. And his move on Bobby Sanguinetti at the Hurricanes blue line paved the way for Brandon Prust’s winning goal.
…..Sharpshooter – Tomas Plekanec on a pass from Max Pacioretty lifted a high shot that flipped off the mask and then the shoulder of Cam Ward and dropped behind him into the net. With regular linemates for the first time in well over a year, Plekanec has eight goals and 13 points in fifteen games.
…..Slump Ender – Doesn’t it always seem to go this way. Max Pacioretty couldn’t buy a goal through his first ten games and 31 shots on goal. Eighteen seconds after Plekanec scored Pacioretty casually bounced the puck into the Carolina zone from centre ice. Ward, probably still fretting over the Plekanec goal, made a half effort to get down and block the puck and it wound up in the back of the net. First goal of the season. He’ll take it. And the game clincher.
…..Minding the Store – It wasn’t a really stressful night for Peter Budaj thanks to the massive amount of work that the defence and the backcheckers did in front of him. His biggest moments came in the final two minutes of the second period with it still 0-0 when he was asked to stop three close-in shots in quick succession from Drayson Bowman, Alexander Semin and Eric Staal. He has now stopped 37 of 38 shots over the lat two games. His first shutout since November 2010.
…..Save of the Night – Carey Price, at the end of the Canadiens bench as the game’s backup, reached and snared clearing shot headed right at the head of unsuspecting RDS broadcaster Marc Denis whowas working the game between the benches.
…..Bearing Down – Michel Therrien talks about his team being comfortable playing in tight games. Carolina played a very tough road game but, unlike in many of their games last season, this time the Canadiens didn’t blink. Tuesday night, another major test on the road at Madison Square Garden.