Canadiens vs Rangers: Moments That Mattered

Before we turn focus to the game against the Edmonton Oilers tonight, let’s take one final look back at the key moments in the Montreal Canadiens win over the New York Rangers.

The 2-on-0
No goal I have ever seen has mesmerized me as much as Tomas Plekanec‘s goal on the short-handed 2-on-0 in the first period.

I was watching in a bar, eating, and looked up to see Max Pacioretty and Plekanec playing keep-away with Henrik Lundqvist. When I got home, I needed to see what happened on the play.

Turns out, two major things happened. After a Ryan McDonagh shot went wide, Rick Nash who was playing the other point pinched down. It meant that the Rangers had four players below the faceoff circles in the Canadiens end.

The problem was that the puck was fired back around and McDonagh had a decision to make. He could sit back and keep the puck in or go for broke and chip the puck past Plekanec.

He made the wrong move. Plekanec blocked the clearing attempt and sprung Pacioretty and himself on the 2-on-0.

The goal itself was a beauty, but the goal also proved why teams like to have two defencemen on the power play. At the very least, though, McDonagh should have been aware of Nash pinching in, and made a safer play on the puck.

Dale Weise, Assist Master
The Canadiens third goal was made possible by a beautiful no-look, backhand pass from Dale Weise who hit Pacioretty on the tape who sniped it home.

Weise, obviously, doesn’t play with Pacioretty normally. That spot is usually Brendan Gallagher‘s. Gallagher was hit hard and went to the bench and on came Weise.

Weise came on the ice and went straight to the puck behind the net, won the battle for the puck and fired the backhand pass to Pacioretty who he knew was in the slot because he peeked right before getting the puck.

It was one of those plays that makes Weise so useful. Not many fourth line players would be able to do that. Weise can. However, you also have to be careful not to expect this all the time which is why he may be stretched in a top-nine role with Lars Eller and Rene Bourque.

However, with a two assist night – both first assists – and with the team winning, it’s hard to really argue with Michel Therrien’s thinking. But at some point, Jiri Sekac will need to re-enter the lineup. Not to mention Michael Bournival.