Habs Control Game; Need Overtime to Earn Win
As expected after Tuesday pathetic effort, the Montreal Canadiens came out soaring against the lowly Coyotes. After one minute, Radulov had opened some space for Danault and Pacioretty to have the Habs ahead early. McCarron and Mitchell then gave Therrien some candy as they forechecked the Coyotes for an entire minute, recovering numerous pucks, which allowed Markov to put home the Habs second of the period. If not for Mike Smith making a series of excellent glove saves, Montreal would have been ahead by more than 2 after the initial 20. It was much of the same for the first half of the 2nd period until Montreal decided to start playing stupid. For the entire 1st period, the team had done such a nice job of playing a strong physical game without taking penalties. The penalties zapped the energy out of the Habs and allowed Arizona to get back in the game as their first was a nice shot on the power play after a nifty pass by Domi. Paul Byron took another undisciplined and needless penalty for the Habs but was saved by Ekman-Larsson taking a holding penalty a few minutes later. Or so he thought. Turns out that the Coyotes would score two on the ensuing 4-on-4. The first one was a penalty that should have been called on Radulov. The missed call resulted in a fast break for the Coyotes where Price was then bumped and the puck still barely sneaked passed Price. Strange one. Then on another Coyotes rush, Pacioretty missed his coverage and Price was completely asleep at the wheel while Goligoski gave Arizona its first lead of the game. With even-strength play being on display to start the third, Montreal quickly returned to controlling the game. They eventually got a power play and Max Pacioretty scored his second of the night to tie the game back up. The top line was at it again as they committed to put pressure on the young Coyotes who eventually coughed up the puck which Radulov eventually fanned on a shot that still made it to the back of the net. The strange see-saw battle continued as a dump-in bounced around and fooled Price with Markov being slow to get back. In overtime, it was the Mike Smith as he made numerous highlight reel saves until Alex Galchenyuk finally got his name on the board with a pure snipe from the high slot to end the game.
1. Mike McCarron, Daniel Carr and Torrey Mitchell played a whale of a game. If the top line was incredibly productive, this line was the main creator of positive momentum and ultimately kept the Coyotes frustrated for most of the night. McCarron in particular was a physical force that really got into the face of all Coyotes players in the third to lead the way in getting the Habs back in control of the game. Where has he been for the last month?
2. In the first and third periods, Montreal played a tough game that drove the Coyotes nuts. It was the first time in well over a month that I had seen the Habs play this physical and it’s something they need to do regularly. Obviously, they need to be mindful of where the line between physical and stupid lies, but it’s better for them to figure it out now as opposed to April.
3. Everyone will be on Shaw’s case about his stupid penalty. It was a stupid penalty… it was also a cheap call. While Shaw needs to be aware that he will be watched, he can be given time to react to this new reality. On the other hand, the Paul Byron penalty was so idiotic. A neutral zone cheap shot trip? It’s a good thing for him that Arizona quickly took a penalty because truthfully, he deserved to be benched over it.
4. It sounds like a broken record but the Habs HAVE to sign Radulov after this season. What a player… he consistently makes everyone on his line better. Only Galchenyuk even comes close to this, when healthy.
5. Where are all the fans who wanted Pacioretty traded in November again?
Habs get ready for a weekend double-header before arriving to their bye week. Puck drop against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday is set for 7pm.
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