It's tough to beat the Montreal Canadiens at home. It's even tougher to beat them at home on a night with an electric atmosphere as the team honored the late Jean Béliveau with a touching pregame ceremony. Tuesday night's game was the first home game for the Candiens since Béliveau's passing last week.
The Canucks struggled to generate many scoring chances all night as they fell 3-1 to the Canadiens. Derek Dorsett had Vancouver's lone goal which came shorthanded in the second period. Overall, the Canucks managed just 16 shots on net during the night. Here's a quick summary of their offense from the game:
The win for Montreal snapped their three-game losing streak, a streak the Canucks are currently on, their longest skid of the year so far.
Vancouver wraps up the seven-game road trip with a 3-3-1 record over the two-week stretch, earning seven points. It started off great, but then went downhill in a hurry.
Just one minute into the game, Nick Bonino played the puck off the boards and had a wide open net as Carrey Price was caught on the wrong side of the crease. Price made a miraculous diving save, diving across the net to block the shot and keep the game scoreless. Bonino has been on a cold streak, and Price made sure things stayed that way.
That's what happens when you haven't scored in 14 games. Bonino looks to score, but Price dives across for miraculous save. #Canucks— Ben Kuzma (@benkuzma) December 10, 2014
Here is how open the net was for Bonino.
Montreal would be the first to go to the power play when Chris Higgins was sent off for high sticking after a shot attempt. Vancouver's penalty kill continued to play well, allowing just one shot on net during the advantage. Coming into tonight, the Canucks ranked sixth in the league in penalty kill at 85.4 percent.
Just a couple minutes later, it would be Vancouver's turn to go to the power play when Bo Horvat was tripped up by Tomas Plekanec at the blue line. Alex Edler would blast a shot towards the net, and Alex Burrows had a near tip-in chance, but the Canucks failed to register an official shot on net during the power play.
As the power play came to an end, Price made another incredible save as Brad Richardson played the puck off his own rebound, wrapping around the net. Price managed to kick his left pad out, stopping what looked to be another sure goal.
On the other end, Ryan Miller came up with a number of big stops himself as the Canadiens controlled the puck for an extended shift, sending shot after shot towards the net. Miller stepped up and stopped everything his way before the Canucks finally managed to clear the puck out of the zone.
During the first period, Montreal sent the puck towards Miller 27 times as the Canucks blocked 15 shots, but neither side found the back of the net in the opening 20 minutes.
The Habs opened the period on a 5-on-3 power play for 1:03 as Alex Edler was sent off for cross-checking with less than four seconds left in the opening period. Chris Tanev stepped up during the 5-on-3, blocking a pair of shots to help keep the game scoreless. The Canucks would escape both penalties without allowing a goal.
chris tanev kills a penalty dot jpg pic.twitter.com/I4R5HdRGU0— Seamus (@Shazmodius) December 10, 2014
After coming up short in front of the net earlier in the period, Brendan Gallagher beat Ryan Miller with a wrist shot to the top corner of the net, giving the Canadiens a 1-0 lead 6:56 into the 2nd period.
The Canucks struggled to get anything going during the period as it took almost nine minutes for them to register a shot on net, and even that was just a weak wrist shot towards the goal from Daniel Sedin.
Midway through a Montreal power play, the Canucks would pull out the Hail Mary from their playbook to tie things up. Kevin Bieksa would lob a pass down ice to Jannik Hansen. Derek Dorsett rushed in, took the centering pass from Hansen and delivered the shorthanded one-timer.
Go long, Jannik! #canucks— Hosea Cheung (@hoseacheung) December 10, 2014
Had Markov not tried to kick Bieksa's clearing pass away, it's likely the game would have remained tied.
During Vancouver's next power play, the Canadiens almost came up with a shorthanded goal of their own. Max Pacioretty took a centering pass perfectly on a 2-on-1 rush, but his shot clanked off the post as the game remained tied.
In the closing seconds of the period, the Canucks caught another lucky break to keep things tied up. Ryan Miller came up with a big save on a shot from Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, but left a wide open net for a rebound opportunity. Sven Andrighetto couldn't get a clean stick on the puck as the game remained tied 1-1 heading into the final intermission.
Missed it by that much:
Early in the final period, Ryan Miller came up with a pair of big saves against Alex Galchenyuk, one from the edge of the crease after Miller was drawn to the opposite side, and another soon from right in front at point blank range after Galchenyuk faked out Ryan Stanton.
During the period, Willie Desjardins tried to shake things up, moving Bo Horvat up to the second line, swapping places with Nick Bonino. With the offense playing as poorly as they were, Willie had to try something to generate a spark.
With less than nine minutes to go, Ryan Stanton was sent off for hooking, sending the Canadiens to the power play for the fifth time. Brendan Gallagher had another good look on net early in the power play off a rebound, but Miller was able to block the shot up and over the net to keep things tied.
With just 4:16 to go, Tomas Plekanec out-hustled Alex Burrows down the ice, quickly tapping the puck up and over Ryan Miller to give the Habs a 2-1 lead.
What a brutal turn by Burrows. Acted like he thought Plekanec was going on the outside instead of right up the middle.— Daniel Wagner (@ADanielWagner) December 10, 2014
The late go-ahead goal would be all Montreal needed to wrap up the win. Max Pacioretty added an empty netter as time expired for good measure. Elise Béliveau was pleased with the outcome.
Now, the Canucks finally return home after two long weeks. They'll face the New York Rangers on Saturday at Rogers Arena to kick off a four-game home stand. After a brutal stretch of seven games in 11 days, the Canucks will play just six games over the next three weeks. This could be a much needed break for the Canucks who have looked shaky since the 3-0 win in Pittsburgh last week.