Rabid Habs

Oh, Holy Habs

Habs' Carey Price

“I think every team is a different challenge, but if you look where they are in the standings, you have to treat them exactly like that. They brought in a new coach this year. They’ve got some very good players on that side, and, like always, they’re really concentrated on not allowing a lot, but they’re also got guys who can put the puck in the net as well.” – Brendan Gallagher

The Montreal Canadiens would be hosting the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, a final tilt for both teams before the 2015 NHL All-Star game break. The Canadiens have conceded 104 goals through 44 games this season, good for sixth in the NHL with an average of 2.36 goals allowed per game. They also ended the weekend on a high note with a six to four win against the New York Islanders. As for the Predators, the team was the second-ranked club in the NHL standings, boasting four talented forward lines and a bevy of mobile defensemen. However, one of the key components to Nashville’s success, Pekka Rinne would be missing a third game in a row after suffering an injury after last Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. While back-up goalie Carter Hutton picked up his first win of the season against the visiting Washington Capitals to start the weekend, he gave up three goals on the game’s first four shots in Detroit on Saturday, which led to Marek Mazanec finishing the game instead. Despite Nashville’s talent consisting of forwards and defensemen, would the Predators be any match for the improved performance of the Habs? With Carey Price back in the net having his 36th start of the season and being 1-3-0 in four career outings against Nashville, Therrien’s troops would be looking for another strong home win, while the Predators would simply be looking for a miracle.

From face off wins to fantastic saves from Carey Price, the Canadiens were looking sharp on the ice and were bringing the pressure on hard in order to keep the pucks deep in the Predators’ zone. Nashville seemed stressed which effected their chances to slip one in the Montreal net and for more plays in the Canadiens zone. Despite best efforts from both teams, the first period was left scoreless until the clock ran out.

The Predators kept the pucks flying during the second period and despite being quick when it came to picking up loose pucks, Nashville were just no match for Price’s ‘smooth as butter’ saves. Unfortunately, the Predators took a one to nothing lead with seven minutes and 50 seconds left of the period thanks to Seth Jones (assisted by Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro). Even though the Habs started to put more pressure on the forecheck, there just wasn’t enough time and the Predators kept their lead until the clock ran out.

The third period power play for the Montreal Canadiens came through as Alex Galchenyuk got a beautiful set up from P.K. Subban and David Desharnais and tucked one into the Nashville net only two minutes and 42 seconds into the period. The pressure between the Predators and the Habs was on as it was now a race to see who could take the lead. While both Nashville and Montreal put the pressure on and tried to catch up with each other’s speed, the third period ended quickly and the Habs would face the Predators in overtime.

Thankfully luck was on the Habs side and with the help of P.K. Subban, the Montreal Canadiens ended their second home game of 2015 with a two to one overtime win.

Here are my thoughts on tonight’s game.

  • You got to give it to Carey Price for being made of some sort of steel and coming back to face off against Nashville. Despite his injury only being minor, Price had a major set back during last season’s playoffs (I won’t go into it, we don’t want to remember it) so any injury Price may receive is always a nail biter. Good for him though, what a game he played tonight.
  • P.K. Subban has excellent patience on the blue line and is one hell of a defenseman and forward. He knows how to create the best feeds for the stronger forwards and knows how to take over the forward spot when needed to. Call him a puck hog if you want, but most of his puck hogging and fancy footwork is what usually gets the opposing team away from our zone.
  • The Nashville Predators are an extremely talented team, don’t get me wrong, but the Montreal Canadiens always know how to make a great comeback in the third period. Could the Habs possibly move up to the number one spot in the league by May? This writer right here believes so.

The Montreal Canadiens play the Dallas Stars at the Bell Centre on January 27th at 7:30pm.

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

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures.