Montreal Canadiens Game 2/82 Recap: It Was 4-1 in the Third Period…
“Nana nana, nana nana, hey, hey, hey…goodbye!”
That was what my house sounded like at about 10:00 last night.
The classic Canadiens victory song was rampant among Habs Nation, after the Canadiens were down 4-1 with 14 minutes to go in the third period, and roared back to win 6-5 in a shootout.
Max Domi opened the scoring for Les Boys, and then Auston Matthews tied it up with a one-timer in the slot. Alex Kerfoot made it 2-1 Toronto before the first period wrapped up. In the second period, Ilya Mikheyev made it 3-1 for the Leafs, and William Nylander made it 4-1 on the power play. It was at this point that the Canadiens put pedal to the metal. Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin each scored to make it 4-3, and then something bizarre happened. When the Canadiens went on the power play, Kasperi Kapanen threw his broken stick at a Jeff Petry pass, resulting in a penalty shot for Petry. He made no mistake, beating Michael Hutchinson glove side. Tie game. Moments later, Philip Danault scored off a scramble to make it 5-4. Then, with the Maple Leafs net empty, Auston “Captain Underpants” Matthews scored to tie the game up. After a cardiac-arrest-inducing overtime, the game went to a shootout for the second time in this two-game-old season. Carey Price stopped three Maple Leafs shooters, Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Tavares, all of whom have an AAV north of $10 million, incidentally. Paul Byron scored the only goal of the shootout to put the Canadiens on top 6-5. What a game.
· After Nylander made it 4-1 on the power play, I turned off the TV and watched Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on my iPad. Why should I watch a thoroughly depressing hockey game? Well, it turns out I missed a lot. After a while, one of my Leafs fan friends (I have a lot of those) texted me, letting me know that the Leafs were winning 4-3. My initial reaction to the text was “hang on, what?” I hurried to check the score. It was, indeed, 4-3. I turned on the TV in time to see the whole Kasperi Kapanen-Jeff Petry situation. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, never doubt the Montreal Canadiens.
· Nick Suzuki had a learning moment on the Kerfoot goal: he learned that you don’t have as much time to stickhandle behind your own net as you did in the OHL. Suzuki got knocked off the puck, which resulted in Kerfoot getting a prime scoring chance in the slot, which he capitalized on. Suzuki, however, overall has looked all right in his first couple of games with the big club. As his game adjusts to the NHL, these sorts of mistakes will happen less and less often.
· The 4-on-3 power play in overtime was very static and very predictable. Granted, the Canadiens did not have a chance to practice it this season; that’s why Kirk Muller called the timeout after the penalty was called. I hope that Muller spends some time on the 4-on-3 power play next practice, because the Canadiens were not moving the puck well, and they were only sending the puck to Shea Weber for a shot. Weber could use some more mustard on his shots; they seemed slightly weaker on that power play. It’s a little too early to judge, but I really hope that Weber isn’t losing his signature bullet.
· The Maple Leafs made a big mistake when it came to their starting goalies. Last night’s game was the second of a back-to-back for the Leafs, the first being against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Leafs started their star goaltender Frederik Andersen against the much-depleted Blue Jackets, and backup Michael Hutchinson against the Canadiens. The Canadiens and the Maple Leafs always battle hard, and the games are always close, while the Blue Jackets lost all of their firepower to free agency and aren’t very good this season. If I were the Leafs (I shudder at the very thought), I would have given Hutchinson the easy matchup against the Blue Jackets, and played Andersen against the much greater challenge in the Montreal Canadiens. I’m not complaining, obviously.
· I love Leafs-Habs games. They are the best games to watch. The rivalry is real.
Next stop: down the QEW in Buffalo for a matchup against the Sabres on Wednesday. I can’t write a recap of that game, because Wednesday is a religious holiday and I will be too busy to catch the game on TV. I will, however, write about the home opener against the Red Wings on Thursday.
Two games against bad teams this week. I will be disappointed at anything less than four points out of those games.
Go Habs Go.
Signed, Le Bo