Whitby - Sep. 24, 2011 - It only took three preseason games, but the Montreal Canadiens finally have their first win in the 2011-12 NHL exhibition season.
Trailing the Ottawa Senators 3-0 in the second period, the Canadiens’ line of Max Pacioretty (pictured at right), Scott Gomez and rookie Brendan Gallagher was electric in bringing their team back to life. Gomez managed to score the tying goal with only 36.4 seconds left in regulation, sending the game into overtime.
Nothing was solved after five minutes of extended play, sending the game to a shootout. The newest Habs love-in, Erik Cole, scored the eventual shootout winner, completing the Habs’ impressive come-from-behind victory over the hometown Senators. For a complete game summary and key game statistics please click on the link at the bottom of this article.
Gomez actually played quite well considering all the hoopla and negativity he has endured from both fans and media alike. He registered six shots on the Ottawa goal.
Pacioretty continued to be an unbelievable powerhouse for the Canadiens as he created scoring chances all night long; he registered nine shots on net.
The three stars of the game were Erik Cole (game winner, 3rd star), Senators’ forward Zack Smith (two goals, 2nd star) and the Habs’ Pacioretty (two goals, nine shots, 1st star). The Habs’ goaltending duo of Carey Price and Nathan Lawson shared playing time in the victory. Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson took the loss for Ottawa.
Both teams resume play tonight at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. and can be heard on the TEAM 990 AM radio or viewed on RDS.
Another Brick in the Wall
Montreal played tough on the blue line last night. Habs’ rookie defensemen Rafael Diaz, Alexei Yemelin and Jarrod Tinordi played a consistent and simply effective game as they mirrored similarities to that of a huge brick wall as the Senators’ forwards could not solve them at Montreal’s blue line.
Injuries are starting to mount for the Habs as well. The latest reported injury is that of forward David Desharnais who suffered a lower body injury two nights ago. Lars Eller is hoping to return to action by the start of the 2011-12 NHL season and there are still huge question marks hanging over the swollen right knee of Andrei Markov.
Game Stats Review
The line of Pacioretty, Gomez and Gallagher registered 19 of Montreal’s 33 shots. Gomez had a tough time in the face-off circle, going 10-for-23 (.435 winning faceoff percentage).
Rookie forward Brock Trotter did not have a memorable evening as he turned the puck over at his own blue line therein leading to the Senators’ third goal of the game. Trotter only saw 9:57 minutes of ice time.
The forward line of Andreas Engqvist, Andrei Kostitsyn and Erik Cole saw plenty of ice time late in the game. Engqvist won .538 percent of the faceoffs taken, going 7-for-13.
Defenseman Rafael Diaz was consistent on the Habs’ blue line, saw 25:07 minutes of ice time and registered two shots on goal.
Montreal’s power play unit saw Gomez, Kostitsyn, Pacioretty, Yannick Weber and Erik Cole playing together for most of the game.
Rookie forward Brendan Gallagher continues to look good in a Habs uniform.
Rookie defenseman Jarrod Tinordi recorded his first professional fight in the NHL at 8:16 of the 3rd period when he squared off with Zack Smith of the Sens - call it a draw.
Montreal won 28 of 63 faceoffs (.444 winning percentage).
Announced attendance was 17,853 at Scotiabank Place in Kanata.
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…