Well that’s a bit of a turn around now isn’t it folks? After coming out in Ottawa half awake, today they steamrolled a Buffalo team who was hot, coming off of a 7 goal outpouring in Boston in which Vanek had an incredible 5 point night, including a hat trick. You had to figure the Habs were going to get some offense going today however, the Sabres have given up at least 3 goals in their last 5 games and are 26th in the NHL in goals against.
In this one the Canadiens offense certainly raised the torch on Buffalo’s defence, getting tons of pucks in front of the net all game, but the defence seemed to steal the show in the first. It wasn’t until the 9:22 mark of the 1st period that Buffalo would record a shot, and that would be their only one of the period. Montreal pounded the net with 15 shots in the 1st, and Miller hung tough making outstanding saves until with just a few seconds remaining in the period Markov made a beautiful stretch pass from behind the goal to Plekanec, who poked it along the board to Gionta for a 2 on 1 rush where he would feed Bourque in the crease for an easy knock in and a power play goal.
The 2nd period Buffalo wasn’t able to get away with their overaggressive play as the Canadiens continually burned them all period on odd man rushes. Montreal’s second goal came when Galchenyuk took advantage of Ehrhoff pinched down on him leaving Gallagher wide open with tons of space to put it home and expand the lead. Through the first 30 minutes of this one Buffalo had only recorded 9 shots, with their big line being a nonfactor. The Canadiens exploded then for a 28 second stretch where the netted goals on back to back odd man rushes with Desharnais slapping one home first off a pass by Eller and then Galchenyuk feeding Eller for the goal this time putting this one out of reach. Today Buffalo just could not stop the puck handler on their side of the ice at all, Montreal was doing not only a tremendous job of stuffing them, but then their breakout led by their centres was even more spot on.
The 5th goal was more of the same as Pleks led a 3 on 1 break that Bourque would easily put away to put this one in full blowout mode. This one wasn’t against Miller however as he was smartly benched to save him for tomorrows game against Florida. Both sides would add a goal a piece to finish out as the final would wind up being 6-1.
Other thoughts from the game:
- Subban adds even more explosiveness to this PP as we saw there in the 3rd with him banking one off the post and another bounced out for a rebound where Desharnais would put it back home for the 6th goal of the game
- Also the ability to get the puck in front of the net and keep it away from that zone defensively was a complete reversal from the one in Ottawa the other night, so it would make sense that the score was as well. Using the shot chart courtesy of ESPN.com Montreal had 19 shots and 5 goals today in front of Buffalo’s goal while defensively Montreal only allowed Buffalo to score once inside that same zone and take just 10 shots.
The three stars of the game were 3rd-Eller 2nd- Price 1st-Desharnais, and they play Ottawa at the same time tomorrow