Rabid Habs

Lights And Sounds

Habs vs Ducks

“Prust is a good player. Everyone here plays pretty fast. It seems like they keep things fast and simple. Hopefully, Torrey and I can get in on the forecheck and cause some turnovers.” – Brian Flynn

The Montreal Canadiens would be looking for their first win on their four-game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night at the Honda Center after an brutal four to nothing shutout loss to the San Jose Sharks on Monday. It would be the first time Devante Smith-Pelly would be facing his former team after being traded on February 24th for Jiri Sekac. Smith-Pelly has registered eight hits in three games since joining the Habs. Newcomer Jeff Petry would be joined by former Buffalo Sabres centers Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn, who were also traded to the Canadiens during the trade deadline on Monday. Mitchell is solid in the face-off circle, possesses some good penalty killing skills, and is physical on the ice, while Flynn is known as an aggressive fore-checker who contributes on the penalty kill as well as possessing some decent offensive skill. With solid players like Mitchell, Flynn, and Petry, the Habs’ possession problems could be over for them and possibly grab them a road win. On the other side of the ice, the Ducks are riding a three-game win streak and would be looking for their fourth against the Canadiens, all while sitting second in the league (one spot above the Habs) with a home record of 21-9-3. With only two points separating them, the Canadiens could use a big win to make up for last night’s draining game bust and to slide up a spot in the league.

The Ducks weren’t sitting back and being tender but instead were putting the pressure and aggression on while the Canadiens were struggling to make the plays under pressure. Just six minutes and 31 seconds into the first period and Francois Beauchemin (assisted by Kyle Palmieri and Nate Thompson) chipped one past Carey Price, giving the Ducks the first goal of the night. The Habs started to build an offense, taking six shots on John Gibson within five minutes of Anaheim’s first goal. Despite a slow start, the Canadiens ended up with a strong finish to the period but the game was left with the Ducks having a one to nothing lead.

Opening up the second period strong and bringing pressure back to the forecheck, the Canadiens were looking sharp, especially during both power plays where they created great chances to slip pucks past John Gibson. However, Rickard Rakell gave the Ducks another point on the board with just nine minutes and 44 seconds left (assisted by Jiri Sekac and Hampus Lindholm). Once again, the Habs were struggling to create any more chances on net, especially from the top line. The Ducks ended the period with a two to nothing lead.

The third period was getting rough as the Ducks were still the aggressive force they had been during the first 40 minutes, making the Canadiens look sluggish on the ice as they were trying to keep up the pace and put the pucks deep in the Anaheim zone. While the Habs started to wake up 30 seconds into the midway mark and get some daylight in front of the net, the new found speed and strong defense from the Ducks were making the Canadiens’ play anything but pretty. The Anaheim Ducks got an empty net goal from Cam Fowler with two minutes left of the third period while Alex Galchenyuk finally gave the Montreal Canadiens their first goal of the night just seconds after, giving the Canadiens the energy they were lacking. However, the clock ran out and the Anaheim Ducks took home a fourth win.

Here are my thoughts on tonight’s game:

The Montreal Canadiens play the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on Thursday at 10:30pm.

(Purchase your Canadiens tickets here. | Achetez vos billets des Canadiens ici.)

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures