The Canadiens behind the goaltending of Carey Price shutout the New York Rangers 3-0 Saturday night at the Bell Centre. Price stopped 34 shots in recording his third shutout of the season. Michael Ryder scored what turned out to be the winning goal 47 seconds into the game. Tomas Plekanec scored late in the first period and Brendan Gallagher completed the scoring midway through the second period. P.K. Subban assisted on all three goals and now is within a point of the scoring lead among defencemen currently held by the injured Kris Letang of the Penguins. The win moved the Canadiens three points ahead of the Boston Bruins who dropped a 3-1 decision in Philadelphia earlier in the day. The game’s three stars were Price, Subban and Gallagher.
Adding It Up –
Flying Start – The Plekanec line took the opening faceoff and after 35 seconds Gionta and Plekanec headed for the bench while Michael Ryder dumped the puck deep into the Rangers end. Instead of heading for the bench, Ryder followed it in and when the puck took an odd hop off the back boards Ryder collected the puck and popped it past the startled Martin Biron. Forty-seven seconds into the game it’s 1-0.
Oddity – P.K. Subban drew the only assist on the goal but did not benefit in the plus/minus column. Subban, like Plekanec and Gionta, were sitting on the bench whemn the puck went in the net. The rest of Ryder’s line and P.K. Subban who drew an assist, were sitting on the bench watching.
Standing Tall – It was up to Carey Price early in the game as the Canadiens had trouble getting their game under control. Price was exceptional in the first period on J.T. Miller, Derek Stepan and, on a clear breakaway Marian Gaborik. Seventeen minutes into the period the Rangers had a 15-7 shots on goal advantage and nothing to show for it.
Opportunist – Price kept them in and the Canadiens created the break they needed when Subban passed it up for Tomas Plekanec and then gave chase to set up a 2-on-1. With Subban the decoy, Plekanec unleashed a hard slapper. Biron had no chance. 2-0.
Cool Head – Midway through the second period Rick Nash backed into Price in the crease a collision that included an elbow to the head that flattened him. Josh Gorges was set to go after Nash when Price, thinking the retaliation would draw a co-incidental penalty, called him off. (Correction – It was Subban who started after Nash – Thanks Dave for the heads up)
Pulling Away – With Nash off for goaltender interference, Subban let another of his rockets go. The rebound bounced around in front with first Desharnais and then Gallagher picking at it. Gallagher finally chipped up over Biron. The Canadiens led 3-0 on only 12 shots.
Unsung – The fourth line again did it’s job particularly Travis Moen who forechecked his way into four good scoring chances. With the Canadiens in shutdown mode in the third period Jeff Halpern won 7 of his final 8 faceoffs. His game total was 11 of 17 and 65%.
Mr. Zero – Carey Price has now blanked the Rangers through four consecutive games at the Bell Centre and a total of 252:49. The Rangers last goal at the Bell Centre was scored by Mats Zuccarello on January 15th 2011.
Drought – Max Pacioretty had five shots on goal, all of them in the third period. Over the last 12 games he has taken 50 shots on opposition goaltenders and has one goal to show for it.
One for the Team – Early in the third period Brandon Prust was hobbled by hard Michael Del Zotto slapshot that hit him in the back of the leg. Prust stayed on the ice and got in the way of Dan Girardi’s shot 20 seconds later. Prust had to walk off the pain but didn’t miss a shift. In his first game back, Prust had a good night.
How Do You Like It Now? – Marc Bergevin’s first and only trade – Erik Cole for Michael Ryder. In Dallas Cole has 2 goals and 0 assists in 12 games. Ryder now has 7 goals and 7 assists in 14 games with the Canadiens.
In Perspective –
…..The Canadiens have swept the three game season series against the Rangers, outscoring them 9-1.
…..Boston may have a game in hand, but the Canadiens now have a 3 point lead in the Northeast Division. Dating back to the victory in Boston March 9th the Canadiens are 9-3-1 while over the same span the Bruins are 7-7-1.
…..Next up for the Habs, Carolina Monday night at the Bell Centre.