The Canadiens ended a two-game home ice losing streak with a solid 4-1 over the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night at the Bell Centre. It was a night that featured standing ovations for former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu during the playing of the national anthems and another through the final 20 seconds of the game and the announcement of his selection as the game’s third star. Michael Bournival, Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque scored the goals. Patrick Maroon ruined Carey Price’s bid for a shutout with 11 minutes remaining after the Canadiens were leading 3-0. Shots on goal were 32-25 in favour of the Ducks. The three stars were Plekanec, Bournival and Koivu.
Adding It Up =
On the Right Foot – The Canadiens’s beginnings haven’t been the problem. For the second game in a row the Canadiens jumped into a 2-0 lead. Michael Bournival scored on a tip-in of a Nathan Beaulieu shot to make it 1-0 at 11:38 of the first period and five minutes later Bournival stole the puck and set up Tomas Plekanec.
The Dreaded Second Period – No repeat of the blown 2-0 lead against Edmonton on Tuesday. The Canadiens continued to pressure Anaheim and were rewarded with a power play goal from Brian Gionta.
Push Back – The final 9 minutes of the second period the Ducks outshot the Canadiens 10-3, but to be fair to the Canadiens defence, solid scoring chances were rare and Price was up to them. Midway through the third Patrick Maroon scored, but three minutes later Bourque’s power play goal put it out of reach again.
Team Balance – For most of ten games this season, the Eller line has carried the Canadiens. In this game, all four lines were doing what they were supposed to do. And three of them, because of injuries, were patchwork.
Instant Chemistry – The domino effect of the Pacioretty and Prust injury was the promotion of rookie Michael Bournival to the Plekanec line with Brian Gionta. In their two full games the line has five goals and eleven scoring points.
Who Knew – For whatever reason, Desharnais, Pacioretty, Briere wasn’t working. Desharnais, Bourque and Moen is. The net presence of two big bodies in Bourque and Moen and a rediscovery of what appeared to be lost playmaking ability on the part of Desharnais made the line a threat both ends of the ice. Six shots on goal in the game for the line.
Worth Mentioning – Desharnais won 13 of 15 faceoffs – 87%. He was 8 out of 8 against Koivu, Getzlaf and Cogliano. ……..Nathan Beaulieu had another of those in-and-out nights. He moved the puck well, but he was slow to react to the play a few times. ………Rene Bourque had two score on clear breakaways. He put himself off side in the first period and he was stopped by Jonas Hiller in the third. Bourque came out of the penalty box to scored his 3rd goal of the season to make it 4-1.
From The Room – Asked what he said to Nathan Beaulieu after his tip-in robbed Beaulieu of his first career NHL goal, Michael Bournival said, “I complained he broke my stick.”
Next Up – The final game of the five game homestand vs. San Jose Saturday night. Then it the Rangers at MadisonSquareGarden Monday and back home to play Dallas Tuesday.