Watching the Montreal Canadiens win against the New York Rangers Saturday night at the Bell Centre, it’s easy to see where the two teams are different from their playoff series.
The Canadiens are a much better team, and were ahead in possession stats in their 3-1 win until the final 10 minutes when score effects allowed the Rangers to gain an advantage. The Canadiens went six minutes without a shot with 10 minutes left in the third period. They held a 41-38 edge after two periods.
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It was a great game from Carey Price who made 34 saves including several big saves, especially in the game’s first 30 minutes when it was a tight game. He has been playing much better in the last two games which is trouble for opposing teams. With the Canadiens playing solid as a team, if Price gets his game back, watch out.
The Canadiens are 7-1 and have had not had their goaltender at his best for most of their games. It is the first time since the 1960s the Canadiens have had such a strong start.
Lars Eller finally got his first goal of the year, as his line has been working hard and getting chances. It’s nice for him to finally get something to show for it as his goal was the game winner.
Dale Weise also had a really good game. He picked up an assist on Eller’s goal and really set up Pacioretty’s marker. It is flashes like that which show that Weise is more than just a fourth line player and why Michel Therrien likes to find him a spot in the lineup that isn’t necessarily on the fourth line.
Jiri Sekac should find his way back into the lineup soon, but there’s no real weakness to sit, which is a good problem to have for Therrien and the Canadiens.
Parenteau had a 67 per cent Corsi despite 13 per cent offensive zone starts. Manny Malhotra, Brandon Prust and Travis Moen were the Canadiens worst Corsi players but didn’t have an offensive zone start.
The Canadiens next game will be Monday as they start a West Coast Canadian trip against the Edmonton Oilers.