The game was played at Rogers Arena, but the Vancouver Canucks home rink looked like a rendition of the Bell Centre.
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 8, 2017
The barrage of Montreal Canadiens fans were in Carey Price’s corner all night long. It was another strong performance for the British Columbian, who was almost perfect on the night. The only goal that beat him was a deflection from Quebec native Michael Chaput.
In 2017, Chaput now tied with Henrik with 4 goals. And ahead of Daniel and Eriksson (3 each).
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) March 8, 2017
While Price was tough to beat, the Canucks lousy offence was the story once again. They had a sputtering of chances, but on many shifts they were overworked by the Canadiens strong defence. With the additions of Brandon Davidson and Jordie Benn, Montreal looked solid on the back end, winning a lot of battle along the boards in their own zone.
The Habs forecheck was also up to the task, as they often overpowered the Canucks defence. The second period, in particular, turned into the Ryan Miller show, and he was forced to make many saves on this night once again. Although, maybe not this many saves.
Tough night for Ryan Miller pic.twitter.com/KFCb9jp1V3
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 8, 2017
The Habs top line of Max Pacioretty, Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher had a dominant game, leading their team in even-strength shot attempts percentage. However, it was a shot from Alex Galchenyuk that Paul Byron tipped past Miller for the game-winning goal.
With a simple tip of the puck, Torrey Mitchell became the happiest man in the building. The bottom-six centre had gone 39 games without a goal after a hot start to the season. Henrik Sedin and Markus Granlund lost a puck battle along the boards and Andrew Shaw was able to retrieve it to the point. Andrei Markov threw a shot on net that Mitchell tipped past Miller.
Although there were 20 Canucks in the lineup for this game, Twitter only seemed to care about Nikolay Goldobin. He made himself noticeable in the first period, but his first impression wasn’t a good one. He fanned on his shot after an odd man rush with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi. Then, he threw the puck back to the point, but the only player there was Shaw. He skated the puck back up the other way, but he wasn’t able to get a good chance on Miller.
Willie Desjardins didn’t quit on Goldobin, who came back on his next couple of shifts with some fire. He got the Canucks best chance of the period in close on Price. His game might need more polishing, but the offensive instincts are definitely there.
Goldobin has moxie, follows a bad shift up by going to the net and almost scoring a goal
— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) March 8, 2017
Alex Biega also impressed early on by using his body. He threw a couple hits, most notably when he crunched Brian Flynn. The Habs winger left the game and didn’t return after the hit. Biega would finish the game with 15 shot attempts for versus only three shot attempts against at even-strength. It was tops on the Canucks.
Both teams had their chances in the period, and both had long, sustained shifts in the offensive zone. After a power play, Troy Stecher and Ben Hutton were gassed after spending almost a minute in their own end. The pressure started after Stecher was hit by a much larger Dwight King.
The Canucks answered back quickly on a Brendan Gaunce takeaway. The rookie still has no goals on the season, and Price stoned him as he came in off the rush. The shift led to sustained pressure by the line of Gaunce, Brandon Sutter, and Jayson Megna. The Sedins and Granlund continued the pressure, but Price was able to shut the door.
Gaunce's work ethic is neverending, just can't buy a goal.. and not very many points for that matter.. But there's potential there.
— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) March 8, 2017
Like many games this season, the Canucks effort wavered, and this game started to turn into the Miller show. He made a couple tough saves in close on the power play. He also stoned Gallagher late in the second. The former Vancouver Giant looked motivated to be back in Vancouver, and had a couple good chances through 40 minutes. The Canadiens asserted their dominance by outshooting the Canucks 16-4 in the period.
The Canucks looked less passive to start the third period, but the Habs staunch defence was evident. They played strong in the corners, and their forwards did a good job of tying up the sticks. Galchenyuk did a great job of tying up Joseph Cramarossa with the puck lying in the crease.
Despite a slow, defensive start, the chances started coming, Granlund was robbed twice by Price after he snatched his own rebound. Artturi Lehkonen came back the other way and forced Miller to make a great save.
If you thought Mitchell’s goal celebration was emphatic, it looked rather tame compared to Michael Chaput. After some good work down low, the fourth line worked the puck back to Alex Edler. He wristed a shot from the point that was tipped in by Chaput.
The Canucks looked motivated after the goal, and has some more impressive shifts in the Montreal zone. The Sedins worked their magic as they tried to get the go-ahead goal, but Daniel Sedin took a hard hit from Shea Weber. He managed to tough out the shift, but the Canucks were unable to capitalize.
The pressure didn’t end after the goal. It was refreshing to see the Canucks press for the winner, instead of playing for the tie. Both Biega and Sutter had chances late, including Sutter’s backhand opportunity with three-tenths of a second left.
The dreaded Megna to Biega combo
— Sir Earl (@Sir_Earl) March 8, 2017
Willie Desjardins played it safe by putting Daniel Sedin, Sutter, and Chris Tanev out there to start the overtime period. He followed that with Hutton, Baertschi, and Horvat, the Canucks best shot at some offence.
Horvat lost the puck in the offensive zone as he tried to carry it in. The Habs came back the other way with Galchenyuk, Byron, and Shea Weber. Galchenyuk threw it towards the net and Byron was able to make an impressive tip between his legs for the game-winner. Price won the battle of netminders, as only deflection goals made the twine bulge on this night.
Torrey Mitchell (8) assisted by Andrei Markov (25) and Andrew Shaw (14)
Michael Chaput (4) assisted by Alex Edler (13) and Troy Stecher (17)
Paul Byron (16) assisted by Alex Galchenyuk (23)
THW Three Stars
1. Carey Price (27 saves)
2. Ryan Miller (36 saves)
3. Max Pacioretty (7 shots, 63% CF)
Montreal Canadiens at Calgary Flames
Thursday, March 9, Scotiabank Saddledome, 9:00 p.m. EST
Broadcast Channels: SNW, RDS, SNE
2016-17 Season Series: Canadiens lead 1-0
New York Islanders at Vancouver Canucks
Thursday, March 9, Rogers Arena, 7:00 p.m. PST
Broadcast Channels: SNP, MSG
2016-17 Season Series: Islanders lead 1-0
KPU Journalism Graduate. Trevor has been writing for The Hockey Writers since October 2014. He has contributed articles related to the Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks, and other issues/stories regarding the game of hockey. Trevor currently lives in White Rock, B.C.