PERFECT TIMING – Canadiens-2 Vancouver -1 (March 7, 2017)

Mar 8th, 2017 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

Six in a row!

Ask twenty people you might get twenty different opinions as to why the Canadiens are a much different looking hockey team than they were three weeks ago. But very high on every list will be Claude Julien’s name.

His system was again very much in evidence in Vancouver Tuesday night.

Timing is everything and co-incidental to Julien’s hiring, or perhaps because of it, we’ve seen the offensive rebirth of players from the bottom nine forwards.  Torrey Mitchell was only the latest to end a long scoring drought in this game.

Even when they couldn’t put two wins together the Canadiens played with speed. It’s what they’re doing with their speed that has ben the difference maker.  . Remember those frequent nights when opponents dominated the ‘possession’ statistics?   That hasn’t happened a lot during the Canadiens six game winning streak.

IN THE NETS

This was a goaltender’s game.

Torrey Mitchell got to Ryan Miller early in the first period on the Canadiens first shot and then stopped the next 36 in regulation time.

Carey Price stopped the first 24 before  Marcel Chaput deflected a shot past him with just over seven minutes left.

Again it’s about timing. Price saved some of his best work down the stretch as Vancouver started to ramp up it’s game in the seven minutes after they scored their goal. Two of Price’s best came in the final 1:15 when he first stopped Alex Biega and then with a second remaining  stoned Brandon Sutter to force the overtime.

TWENTY-SEVEN

I have been up and down about the play of Alex Galchenyuk this season. He has had good moments offensively.  Defensively there were games he was a mess. Michel Therrien could never find a way to get him to pay attention to his system. Whatever Julien has told him has taken hold. This could have been his best two-way game of the season. He was very active on the back check and in front of this own net and on offense he took seven shots, four on goal. And how about that move along the line to set up the shot that deflected off Paul Byron for the game-winner?

POSSESSED

It might be the company he kept in this game, but I doubt it. Brendan Gallagher moved up to replace Alexander Radulov on the first line and he had a monster of a night. But a game like this one has been coming for a week or so.

The way he played this game, he could have had fourth liners as his linemates and played a dominant role. Three breakaways; seven shots on goal. He missed the net only once. Fifteen of the Canadiens 38 shots in the game came off that line. Pacioretty had six and Danault with two.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….To catch you up on Carey Price’s last three weeks – he’s given up 11 goals in his last eight starts for a 1.35GAA and a glittering  .951 save%.

….Brandon Davidson became the fourth member of the trade deadline arrivals to make a start. In fact all four were in this game. Davidson had a good night paired with Jeff Petry. He was minus-1 but it was Petry who fouled up the play that led to the Canucks only goal. He also wasn’t afraid to involve himself in the offense. Julien reacted by giving him over 14 minutes ice time.

….It will require some time and research but I can’t remember the last time a member of the Canadiens took 28 faceoffs in a game let alone that somebody won 20 of them.  Philip Danault wound up winning 20 of 28 which was 71%.

MOVING ON

One thing that is different about this Western Canada swing compared with most of the others. The Canadiens have days off between all three games. They’ll practice in Calgary Wednesday and play the Flames Thursday night. Then it’s two days before they play the Oilers Sunday at Rexall Place.

2 Comments to “PERFECT TIMING – Canadiens-2 Vancouver -1 (March 7, 2017)”

  1. Al says:

    Still not a whole lot of offensive chemistry, but one gets the feeling that that will come. The team is playing tight D, the lines are more balanced, and the older Dmen getting reasonable minutes. So clear that the team is better coached. Concerned about Gallagher’s hand tho’.

  2. Ian London says:

    Was at game (as I always am since I moved to VCR 35 yrs ago) and have never heard and seen so many Hab fans at the game. Was also at Detroit game in Mtl in November. Bell Ctr is not only considerably bigger but compared to other arenas just more natural fun. Not sure why it’s necessary that every whistle is immediately followed by loud pretty boring piped-in noise. And I’m hardly an old fart based on where and how I ski and the music I have on my phone. but I digress….

    OK back to the game. One thing about good seats in a live game is you don’t see all the little battles. The game was extremely tight checking and I didn’t think we had much sustained offensive pressure at all and yet most of what I read disagree with me. And in looking at highlights seems we played pretty well. But nothing on the PP. We need that make, Kirk. You have work to do.

    VCR hates playing us at home because of all of us Habs fans. last night it was probably close to 50/50 and we were clearly the louder fans.

    I initially didn’t think much of the trades last week or the hiring of CJ but I definitely love the way he is coaching and so far I’m really pleased with Benn and have seen good stuff from Martinson. Will need to pay more attention to the other newbies.

    Have loved Byron since he joined us and I expect a little extra juice from him on Thursday. will watch that game in Whistler – picked a great week for PTO – fresh powder every day. but I digress again…

    I know a lot of you are down on Shaw but of late his play is very good and last night he played a strong game especially on the forecheck. And no dumb penalties!!

    Needless to say, come September, we’re in for a very different training camp and I think a changing of the guard. The kids are ready. We have too many players at same level as healthy scratches. As long as CP31, Max, both Gally’s, Byron, Weber, Petry, Marky, Benn, Danault, Lets are in line up I’m good. oh yeah and that other guy – Radulov. let’s resign him right after expansion draft. too bad the Habs fans last nite didn’t get to see him live.

    Until then, keep working hard boys and let’s get focused (are you listening Nate – saw two terrible give-aways last night) for the playoffs.

    GO HABS GO

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