Whitby - Oct. 16, 2011 -
Colorado 6 - Montreal 5 (S/O)
The forecast for the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night was an Avalanche and that is exactly what the Canadiens received. The Habs suffered a 6 - 5 shootout loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche in front of 21,273 at the Bell Centre. Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk setup the game-tying goal in the third period and scored the shootout winner.
Avalanche forward David Jones was the unsung hero of the night for the visiting team as he had two goals and one assist. Kyle Quincey, Paul Stastny and Chuck Kobasew had the other Colorado goals. Scoring for Montreal were Tomas Plekanec, Brian Gionta, Travis Moen, David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. Colorado netminder Semyon Varlamov stopped 38-of-43 shots (.884 save percentage) to get the win. Habs’ netminder Carey Price made his fourth consecutive start and turned aside 25-of-30 shots (.833 save percentage) for the loss.
For the boxscore and game stats review, please see below.
The fans at the Bell Centre were both entertained and frustrated on this Saturday evening. Entertained because the game was a seesaw affair with the Avalanche blowing three one goal leads and the Habs’ trio of Max Pacioretty, Andrei Kostitsyn and David Desharnais was dynamic; frustrating because Bleu-Blanc-Rouge netminder Carey Price was terrible on this night and collectively, the Canadiens didn’t get the job done defensively.
The turning point of the contest was the Rafael Diaz tripping penalty late in the third period whereby Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincey scored with 4:03 left in the third period sending the game to an eventual shootout.
The announced three stars of the game were Habs’ captain Brian Gionta (3rd star, three point effort) who had his strongest performance so far, Max Pacioretty (2nd star, eight shots on goal, two points) and Avalanche right winger Milan Hejduk (1st star, assisted on game tying goal, shootout winner).
The Habs next game is this coming Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. when they face the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre. The game can be seen on both RDS and TSN and can also be heard on TSN990 AM radio.
View from the Whitby Cheap Seats
Montreal has now lost three of its last four games. Not time to panic, yet. In a post-game scrum, Habs’ netminder Carey Price admitted he didn’t have his best game tonight and there were three goals he would have liked to have back. Price looked awful in the shootout as well. I think it’s time someone told Mr. Price the 2011-12 season has already begun.
Saturday night’s best line was the trio of Pacioretty, Kostitsyn and Desharnais with Pacioretty firing eight shots on Varlamov. Pacioretty and Desharnais were reunited after nearly a year apart and it looked like they hadn’t missed a beat. Tomas Plekanec had another steady game. Erik Cole saw only 11 seconds of power play time, but keep in mind, he has never been a power play guy throughout his career. Cole was signed by Montreal in the off season to help the Canadiens at even strength.
Montreal’s worst pairing on defence? Not the rookies tonight. You can look straight at P.K. Subban and Hal Gill. Just as he played for the Belleville Bulls, Subban is taking many risks with his end-to-end rushes. Great results if they work; downright awful when they don’t. Subban needs to play within the team concept, not on an individual performance.
Rookie defenseman Rafael Diaz is playing with more confidence each and every game. He has shown crisp tape-to-tape passes. Alexei Yemelin is still feeling his way through the North American game. Yemelin did deliver a few solid checks on Saturday night, but look to see his play improve steadily once countryman Andrei Markov returns from injury.
Game Stats Review
Montreal was one-for-three on the power play; Colorado, two-for-four.
Shots on Goal: Montreal = 43 Colorado = 30
Montreal’s faceoff performance: Desharnais 4-for-12 (.333), Andreas Engqvist 2-for-7 (.286), Scott Gomez 6-for-15 (.400) and Plekanec 14-for-29 (.483).
Cole led the Habs with six hits
Diaz led the team with three blocked shots
Defenseman Yannick Weber was a plus+2 on the evening
Subban led the Habs with 25:41 minutes of ice time and was a -1.
Until next time, play every game as if it is your last one…