Remember last week when the Habs kept blowing third period leads?
Remember last week when the Habs kept losing third periods?
Remember last week when after those games, Michel Therrien said that his team needed to learn how to win!?
Well after some tight, one goal games and a few nailbiters thrown in, it appears as if the 2013 Montreal Canadiens
Carey Price celebrates Raphael Diaz's empty netter sealing the deal for the win. Habs beat the Rangers at MSG 3-1. AP
This one started off kind of slowly for both teams. The Canadiens were coming off of last night's win in Montreal and were definitely sluggish. But the Rangers weren't that better and after one period, the shot total was 5-3 in favour of the Rangers.
Things got going in the second period. Carey Price, back from his battle with the flu, made some nice saves as did King Henrik Lundqvist. Then on a delayed penalty the Canadiens got caught watching in their own zone allowing Anton Stralman to pick up his own rebound to put the blueshirts up 1-0.
Finally the Habs seemed to get their legs going midway through the second and some good hustle by David Desharnais resulted in Max Pacioretty's goal with under two minutes left in the frame to tie the game 1-1.
The game was for the taking... so who was going to take it?
Well the Habs came out flying in the third and bang-bang, they went down the ice on a three-on-one which they kind of butchered, yet Brandon Prust -- playing for the first time against his old team -- returned the favour from last night to Alex Galchenyuk by passing him the puck through the crease and the rookie didn't miss.
#Prustchenyuk is now trending on twitter.
In fact, get used to it. Any time Galchenyuk is involved in the scoring, you're going to get a rise in anything-enyuks. Yuk yuk.
A dodgy call on Tomas Plekanec put the Rangers on the powerplay with under three minutes left in the game, but some key faceoff wins, especially by Ryan White, helped the Habs kill it off until Raphael Diaz whipped the puck down the ice from inside his own blueline and into the empty Rangers net. Habs win 3-1, take four of four points in a tough back-to-back, and temporarily take over first in the Eastern Conference.
Wow! Let's enjoy this, shall we?
Ultimately a few things:
- The Habs suddenly are winning the important faceoffs. That's good coaching.
- The team plays a patient game sans panic and is outlasting the opposition.
- The fourth line is eating up minutes and bringing energy to the team. Ryan White -- for the last two games at least -- is playing Ryan White the Good.
- The Canadiens are becoming a seriously stingy team.
- Lars Eller: this guy is starting to look like another Plekanec -- someone reliable in any situation. Boy did he get the message.
- Playing a team game, Coach Therrien can roll all four lines.
The Canadiens powerplay is an area for improvement but as long as they keep winning any way they can, they can work it out without panic or pressure. And Erik Cole still doesn't look like the power forward from last year, but hopefully he'll get going soon. At least Pacioretty seems to have.
Habs are in Long Island to play the Islanders on Thursday looking for their sixth straight win.
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