The Canucks are in game mode and set to pull out another victory over the Canadians who as you know are their eastern counterparts but that is a big if.
The three game winning streak would be put to the test in this game to see if the Canucks simply have enough horses or if the tank is running on empty.
With no Pettersson in the line-up there is no question that every game he misses is an uphill battle but going against Carey Price and the Habs is one mountainous hill to climb.
While many are focused on the game, I for one was pleased to hear that both Bevan Mills and Kiel Murchison are lining tonight’s game which is a pleasant surprise to local officials who have attended some of their clinic’s.
Montreal enters tonight’s game having 22.7% on the PP and 77.5 on the PK while Vancouver sits at 19.6 on the PP and 80,4 on the PK.
Over the last six games both Gallagher and Boeser have six points while Gallagher has 4 goals to TJ Miller’s 3.
Price has a record of 7-4-4 with a GA of 2.69 and a SV% of .903 while Demko his counterpart 200 feet away has a record of 7-9-1 with a GA of 2.75 and a SV% of .916 so the stats literally speak for themselves.
Montreal to the shock of many currently sits fourth in the standings with 29 points having played 24 games (11-6-7-7-2) while Vancouver sits in fifth with 26 points through 29 games (12-15-2) so this game means much for both teams.
To the surprise of many Vancouver started Demko with many in the area hoping that Price would get the start and not to disappoint anyone that’s what the Canadians did.
While it was nice to watch the pre-game warm-up it was equally great to watch two local officials work the game on the lines.
Surrey’s Bevan Mills and Cloverdale’s Kiel Murchison were on the lines for tonight’s game which is so nice to watch a couple of local linesman call the game, but let’s face it they had huge footsteps to follow in with the likes of Brad Lazaarowich, Jay Sharrers and Lonnie Cameron to follow in the and those who have worked in the league prior to the above three.
The Canucks came out with jump only to have Montreal turn the tables having various close in chances getting the first of the period after a miss-play behind their net.
As you might expect it was former Canuck Toffoli who stripped the puck behind the net sending it out to Kotkaminei at the hash marks on the right side who hammered one past Demko putting Montreal up 1-0.
Montreal came out strong in the second breaking in on the right side sending a cross-ice pass to Byron who worked a give and go to Perry at 2:09 who pulled Demko to the right sliding one around him giving them a 2-0 lead.
The see-saw battle continued until the 4:54 mark of the period when Boeser got his 14th of the season getting Vancouver back in the game making it 2-1.
Both teams continued to trade chances but whenever one was set to go on net the attempted shot saw the stick break.
Montreal continued to press getting another PP chance and at 14:11 Webber sent a bullet top shelf over the right shoulder of Demko to put Montreal up by a 3-1 margin.
Asking anyone in the press box and they would tell you the difference was the passes that Montreal connected on a tape to tape pass, whereas Vancouver’s were off target as I ask myself where is Ron Johnson?
Montreal ended the second with 12 for a two period total of 28 while Vancouver managed only 13 for a two period total of 17 that saw both tenders tested close in for some timely saves.
The third started with Montreal coming out hotter than a firecracker hammering shot after shot at Demko eventually getting their fourth of the game at 7”36 with Petry getting his 10th of the season.
One word you could use to sum up the Canucks is frustration given all the chances they are getting, nothing seems to be working.
They were given a PP chance at 7:27 that sent Danualt off for hooking, but Montreal is far too stingy on this night but they did have chances, just not enough.
Shots with 9:57 left in the third saw Montreal outshooting Vancouver by a 37-21 tally and when things go wrong they go wrong
Vancouver were caught with Too Many Men at 11:02 and assessed a Bench Minor that was served by Hughes that came to an abrupt end without a goal being scored.
Montreal did score their fifth of the game at 13:49 that saw Danault get his first of the season putting Montreal in the driver’s seat or maybe even in the passing lane.
Vancouver continued to throw everything and anything at Price only to have the shots blocked or completely miss the net.
Coming off a 2-1 S/O loss two days prior, you knew that Montreal’s line-up would pressure Vancouver in all areas of the ice forcing turnovers time and time again.
No one can be really surprised that Canucks Head Coach Travis Green was visibly and emotionally frustrated with his team’s lack of effort where he mentioned this in the press conference following the game.
“Very poor,” he said about his team’s effort. “We just didn’t have a lot of players play very well.
“You’re going to have stinkers, it’s by no means an excuse, we had too many players not playing well. We’re not a team that can bring a C, D (grade) game,” he added.
Thatcher Demko who was hammered with 45 shots was in his 19th start and was asked if any goals were bugging him where he mentioned “Not too sure. Obviously I’d like them all back,”
Vancouver were only able to send 24 on Price who played in both back to back games against a team he grew up watching in Anaheim Lake.
Vancouver struggles continue but they did manage a split in the two game series only to have the next game against the Oilers who just hammered Ottawa with a 7-1 loss.
Montreal outshot Vancouver by a 45-28 margin while Vancouver won 58% going 1-3 on the PP of the Face-off to Montreal’s 42% managing 1-5 on the PP.
It’s interesting to know that this season there are seven (7) goalies playing in the NHL who have played more games than Thatcher Demko, none facing as many shots or making as many saves.
1st) Jeff Petry ( Montreal)
2nd) Jesperi Kotkaniemi ( Montreal)
3rd) Shea Weber (Montreal)