Off to an impressive 9-0-0 start, you had to wonder when the glorious ride for the Montreal Canadiens would come to an end. The Habs kicked off their usual beginning-of-the-season western Canada road trip on Tuesday night against the Vancouver Canucks. They will play three games in four nights on the trip.
Heading into the game on Tuesday night, Montreal held a record of 7-0-2 in their last nine games against Vancouver. Carey Price certainly did not get off to the start he wanted in his home province, seeing a Brandon Prust shot handcuff him, which led to a goal for the Canucks early on in the first period. The 10:00pm EST start time is obviously not ideal for a team such as the Canadiens, but that of course, is no excuse for the loss.
Ice time story lines
PK Subban received 18:19 minutes of ice time on Tuesday night. Subban hasn’t played under 19 minutes in a regular season game since April 5th, 2014 against the Detroit Red Wings. Only Nathan Beaulieu played less than Subban on defence.
David Desharnais played 17:25 minutes against Vancouver, which was more than centres Mitchell, Galchenyuk, and even Plekanec. The only forward who played more minutes than Desharnais was Tomas Fleischmann, who was just recently signed onto the Habs’ roster from a PTO.
Alex Galchenyuk was handed 14 minutes of ice time. The line of Semin – Galchenyuk – Eller went minus-6 as a whole on the night, each going minus-2 respectively.
Other notes from the game
Fourth line centreman Torrey Mitchell scored his 4th goal of the season, tying him for 3rd in goals on the Canadiens.
Ryan Miller played a good game for Vancouver, making nine saves from high-danger scoring areas at even strength alone. Miller finished the game with 25 saves and only one goal against. He came up huge on this Habs 2-on-0 midway through the first period, which could have been a pivotal moment in the game:
Back on the horse
The Habs are right back at it on Thursday night in Edmonton and then again the very next day in Calgary. That Friday night game against the Flames could present a tough challenge for the Canadiens, who will be facing a rested Calgary group. Statistically speaking, rested home teams hold a winning percentage of approximately 0.59 against away teams playing their second game of a back-to-back set. Last season, the Habs went 1-1-1 on this October road trip out west, winning their only game in a shootout. They actually won that shootout playing their second game of a back-to-back against a well-rested Calgary team.
Expect backup netminder Mike Condon to receive the starting duty for the Habs in one of those two games. If I had to guess, I would say Price on Thursday and Condon on Friday. But, we shall wait and see what Michel Therrien has in store.