Habs Fall in St. Louis
The Habs fell victim to a comeback by the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night, losing in overtime 3-2. The Habs had lead the game 2-0, but the 3rd period collapse means that the Canadiens end their 5 game road trip with a 2-2-1 record.
Paul Byron continued his career season for the Habs, scoring in the first period to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. The goal is Byron’s 8th of the season, putting him well on pace to beat his career high of 11 goals, set last season. The Habs opened up a 2-0 lead in the second period on a marker by Tomas Plekanec. For Plekanec this was only his second goal of the season, a disappointing mark for a player who has established himself as a team leader in the past. An off season makes it even more probable that Plekanec will be left unprotected during next summer’s expansion draft, making it likely he will be playing in Las Vegas next year.
Unfortunately for the Canadiens St. Louis was able to bounce back in the 3rd period, scoring a pair of goals to force the overtime period. Paul Stastny scored at 7:40 of the period, and Jaden Schwartz tied the game 3 minutes later. Schwartz wasn’t satisfied with just one goal and potted the winner in overtime, beating Habs goalie Al Montoya with a backhander. The win moves the Blues to 15-7-4 on the season, while the Habs fall to 17-6-3.
Habs Glad to Escape California
The collapse in St. Louis was just more of the same for the Habs on this road trip. The team barely escaped Los Angeles with a win on Sunday, and a loss to San Jose on Friday just added to the disappointment of the team’s play on the road. The Canadiens are 5-5-2 on the road this season, a record that sits in stark contrast to their 12-1-1 home record. This road trip saw the team drop out of first place in the NHL for the first time this season, and although they still lead the Eastern Conference, their lead had been badly damaged.
Scoring has become a big issue for the Habs, Friday’s game saw the team lose 2-1 to San Jose, a game where rookie Artturi Lehkonen was the only Montreal goal scorer. Sunday’s 5-4 shootout win over Los Angeles was an improvement, but one game is not enough to allay the fears of nervous fans. Sunday’s game saw team captain Max Pacioretty score a pair of goals, with Andrew Shaw and Alexander Radulov scoring the other two regulation goals. Paul Byron scored the winning shootout goal.
Injury Bug Taking Aim at Habs
With the season well under way, injuries are starting to ramp-up across the league and the Habs are not immune. With Nathan Beaulieu and Charles Hudon already on injured reserve, the weekend saw Alex Galchenyuk go down with a lower-body injury. Although he is listed as “day-to-day” any significant loss of Galchenyuk will be hard for the Habs, especially during a scoring drought. Tuesday dealt another blow to the Canadiens as forward David Desharnais left with a “lower-body” injury and did not return. The loss of core players for the Habs could spell trouble in the weeks before the Christmas break.
Next Up: New Jersey Devils
The Habs now head back to Montreal where they will play host to the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. Fans will be happy to see Carey Price in nets, as the play of Al Montoya has been disappointing since he allowed 10 goals vs Columbus at the beginning of November. The Devils are 12-7-6 this season and sit in 6th place in the Metropolitan Division. Game time on Thursday is 7:30pm EST.
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