The Montreal Canadiens hosted the New Jersey Devils last night. It was a quiet game for the first half but was anything but quiet for the second half. Who were the Habs three stars?
The Montreal Canadiens hosted the New Jersey Devils last night looking to take four of a four possible points for their work on the weekend. The game started slowly and was a bit of a sleeper for the Habs early on. In fact, aside from Keith Kinkaid, I’m still not sure how many Habs actually showed up for the first period and how many were napping in the dressing room.
After the first period ended, the shots on goal were 20-9 in favour of the Devils. Somehow, the Canadiens had a late lead that was erased in the final minute by a Nikita Gusev goal for New Jersey. Still, heading into the locker room for the first time tied at one was a lucky break for the Canadiens.
The second period started out much the same way the first period was played. The Devils were not exactly dominating play, but firing all kinds of shots at the Habs net and having no problem getting pucks through to the net. They couldn’t break through and in the last minute of the period found themselves trailing 3-1 even though they were outshooting the Habs by a wide margin.
Goals from Cale Fleury and Nick Suzuki gave the Habs a two goal lead, but a couple of breakdowns on a late power play led to a Nico Hischier goal in the final seconds of the period to make things very close heading into the third period.
A wild third period ensued with nine minor penalties called between the two teams. No goals were scored until Wayne Simmonds sniped a power play one-timer on a cross-ice feed from Taylor Hall with less than five minutes to play. Max Domi was sitting in the box at the time for an odd double-minor penalty that was never really explained. He knocked away Blake Coleman’s stick which is a two minute interference penalty by the letter of the law, but an additional unsportsmanlike penalty was tacked on and no one seemed to know why.
The game headed to overtime after a controversial no goal for the Canadiens. Phillip Danault was tripped in the crease as the puck bounced off of him. As he settled on the ice, he then thrust the puck over the line with his hip. The goal would have given the Habs a 4-3 lead with less than a minute to go but it was properly waived off. Players are not allowed to intentionally propel the puck over the line with anything other than their stick. The thrusting motion by Danault means it should not have been a goal.
Danault quickly got on the scoresheet though. He did that by taking a hooking penalty just seconds into overtime. Hall once again set up a teammate on the power play and this time Kyle Palmieri slapped him a one-timer and gave the Devils the extra point.