The Canadiens played their second shutdown game in a row and came away with a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens broke a scoreless tie with goals in the second period by Michael Bournival and Rene Bourque. The Stars Cody Eakin narrowed it to 2-1 but the Canadiens defence shut it down the rest of the way. Shots on goal were 27-24 in favour of the Stars. The three stars were Carey Price, Bournival and the Stars Alex Chiasson.
Adding It Up –
The Perfect Hockey Storm – Great goaltending, self-sacrificing defense and timely goalscoring. Over the last 24 hours the Canadiens demonstrated what can happen when all three come together. Two wins in a row before the Canadiens head west again.
No Place To Go – For the Canadiens team defence clogged up the shooting lanes to the extent that, for the second game in a row they blocked more shots (29) than their goaltenders had to stop (27). For the record against the Rangers and Dallas combined the Canadiens defense blocked 57 shooting attempts to 22 blocks registered by their opponents. They lead the league by far with 243; an average of 20 per game. Of the Canadiens 18 skaters, only two didn’t block a shot, Galchenyuk and Plekanec. Considering the quality of their respective nights, they’re forgiven.
Still Flying High – Michael Bournival played with Plekanec and Brian Gionta for the fifth game in a row. Bournival was in front of the net to score the opening goal of the game. In the five games together members of the line now have a combined six goals and 15 assists and that includes the shutout game against San Jose.
Calder Candidate? – Last year Brendan Gallagher was the Canadiens rookie surprise. Bournival now is 5th in the rookie scoring race and climbing. In ten games he has 3 goals, 4 assists and is plus-5. That’s four points behind the cooled-off Tomas Hertl of San Jose. Not forgotten is the fact that Bournival had no points in his first three games before being promoted off the Canadiens fourth line.
Making Adjustments – Those end-to-end rushes that have become P.K. Subban’s trade make the last couple of years have become fewer and farther between as teams try to isolate him. Subban has responded with crisp outlet passes that are equally effective. Still, three minutes into the third period he got the fans off their seats with a rush that included two brilliant moves before just failing to click on a goalmouth pass to Michael Blunden.
Unsung – Raphael Diaz drew the first assist on both Canadiens goals. Both were the result of perfectly timed shots to the goalmouth with traffic already in place. Bournival’s goal was on a tip, Bourque’s on a rebound. Seldom noted is the fact that Diaz is third on the team in blocked shots behind only Gorges (who leads the league) and Markov. He blocked three more in this game.
The Big Guy – He may be bigger and slower than the rest, but in only one home game fans are appreciating Douglas Murray’s physical presence. Six hits in only 12 minutes of ice time. He took his second interference penalty in two nights, both of which he afterwards termed “awful calls” by the game referees.
The Little Things – With forty-six seconds left in a one-goal game Carey Price made a big save on a point blank shot from Cody Eakins. In explaining the save afterwards, Price said, “Doug (Murray) took away any shot at my blocker side. All I had to worry about was my glove side and I saw it all the way.” It was the Stars final shot of the game.
Also Noteworthy -…..The Eller line has stopped scoring but not through lack of effort. Eller had three shots on goal, Gallagher attempted five but hit the net only once. Galchenyuk hit the net once in three attempts. ……One of these games David Desharnais is going to break loose. A little more presence around the net might help. ……I thought Louis Leblanc contributed on the Desharnais line. He was at the crease when Rene Bourque scored his goal. ….For the second game in a row, Andrei Markov led in blocked shots and for the second game in a row he came up limping after taking one off the foot late in the third period. Four blocks in this game, six Monday night in New York.
Moving Along - A day off from practice Wednesday. Back to work Thursday morning before the team charters to Minnesota for Friday night’s game against the Wild and then on to what will be a Colorado Avalanche/Patrick Roy circus on Saturday. Second back-to-back set of the week. Will Budaj play in Denver against his old team?