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Game Recap: Montreal Invades Vancouver

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Both teams struggle against goaltenders on top of their game.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of two wins in California after being badly outshot, the Vancouver Canucks hosted the Montreal Canadiens tonight hoping to keep the good times rolling. The last time Vancouver faced Carey Price, he stopped all of the 42 shots he faced for the clean slate.

As per custom, the majority of the lower bowl was filled with red sweaters tonight. Those Habs fans never let the chance pass to support their team from the other side of the country.

The team also hosted the Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon tonight, raising funds to support some great local causes.

First Period

Vancouver had a handful of odd man rushes to kick off the game and held the shot advantage in the opening minutes.

Despite having the majority of chances, the Canadiens were the first team to score. After a failed clearing attempt, Torey Mitchell found himself getting a stick on Andrei Markov’s shot to beat Ryan Miller on the short side.

The Canucks came back with some pressure following the goal, attempting to even the score as soon as possible. While they didn’t have anything to show for it, the hustle was there.

Vancouver and Montreal exchanged chances as the period carried on. With a short amount of stoppages, play went back and forth at a steady clip.

After the second line of Baertschi, Horvat and Goldobin had a great chance to score, Nikolay Goldobin had a brutal giveaway. Andrew Shaw fooled him when he called for the puck on the blue line and happily turned around to create a scoring chance of his own.

Montreal went to the man advantage after Troy Stecher was called for interference. Thankfully were shut down by an effective penalty killing unit and weren’t allowed to get a shot on net.

With a few minutes left to play, Goldobin had another strong chance in front of the net but failed to beat a sprawling Carey Price.

It’s been fun to watch Goldobin playing with Sven and Bo so far. You can see the speed and creativity they bring as a unit and show some promise.

The Canadiens went to their second power play after Luca Sbisa tripped up Max Pacioretty as the period came to a close. While Montreal got pucks on net this time around, Vancouver maintained their strong penalty killing ways and kept the deficit to a single goal.

Second Period

Philip Danault was sent to the box 29 seconds into the middle period, giving the Canucks they’re first power play of the game. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much of an advantage and Vancouver couldn’t establish any kind of a real threat to score.

Montreal stepped up their effort following the penalty kill and had a number of scoring chances following multiple failed clearing attempts. On two separate occasions, the Canadiens had Vancouver hemmed in their own zone with tired players trying to to fend them off.

After yielding to Montreal for a quarter of the period, Vancouver put together some pressure of their own when Brendan Gaunce muscled his way into the Habs zone. After gaining a foothold, the Canucks had a couple good looks on net. They may not have scored, but it was refreshing to see some jump to the game after spending so much time in Vancouver’s end of the ice.

Reid Boucher continues to show his great speed and hard shot on the fourth line. It’s a shame to see Loui Eriksson on the sidelines due to injury but I’m all for giving this kid more chances to play.

With 7:15 left in the period, Alex Edler sent the puck over the boards for a delay of game penalty. On the ensuing power play, Ryan Miller and the special teams unit in front of him did well to hold Montreal’s power play at bay to kill a third penalty.

Montreal dominated this period from start to finish, outshooting Vancouver by a wide margin. This score would have been a lot more lopsided if it wasn’t for a combination of luck and Ryan Miller’s strong positional play.

Third Period

Willie Desjardins shook up the lines a bit to start the final period, replacing Nikolay Goldobin with Joseph Cramarossa on the second line. I’m not sure how Cramarossa earned the promotion, maybe he really is the new Dorsett?

Alex Biega had a strong physical game tonight, he made his presence known with some bug huts throughout the game.

The fourth line was looking dangerous with Goldobin on the wing, bringing some speed and pressure on the ice. I’m still not a fan of the move but it’s good to see shots come from any line at this point of the game.

Both teams had a chance to light the lamp near the 8 minutes into the period when Carey Price shut down Markus Granlund on the front door and Miller was forced to make some saves of his own facing Montreal’s 2 on 1 rush following Price’s save.

The Cramarossa experiment apparently came to an end halfway through the third period when Goldobin returned to the second line. Good thing too because reuniting the original fourth line finally got Vancouver a goal.

With Alex Edler’s shot coming in from the point, Michael Chaput was in the perfect potion to tip the puck past Carey Price to even the score.

Vancouver looked like different team after tying the game. With Montreal suddenly on their heels, the Canucks were attacking with confidence and had some of their best opportunities in the entire game.

There was a brief moment of concern when Daniel Sedin took a solid check from Shea Weber. He didn’t miss a shift and seemed to be okay.

Vancouver kept their foot on the gas in the dying minutes of the game with Alex Biega and Brandon Sutter testing Carey Price. Despite the chances, the game was destined for 3 on 3 overtime.

Overtime

The extra frame was short lived when Paul Byron deflected Alex Galchenyuk’s shot and sent a bouncing puck past Ryan Miller. It was a bizarre play and continued the trend of tip in goals this game. Apparently that’s the only way you can beat two goalies on top of their game.

Post Game