First Period Recap: Bruce Boudreau shook up the lines to start this one, sticking Jakob Silfverberg with Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano and inserting Devante Smith-Pelly on to the fourth line with Daniel Winnik and Nick Bonino. Smith-Pelly replaced Kyle Palmieri in the lineup and Mark Fistric played for healthy scratch Ben Lovejoy.
Throughout the opening frame the Canadiens simply outskated the Ducks. The first boxscore indication of this was Mathieu Perreault's holding (looked more like hooking to me) penalty two minutes in, which the Ducks managed to kill.
Just after the seven minute mark, Saku Koivu delivered a beautiful pass to a wide open Andrew Cogliano, who snapped it off the crossbar and out of play. The Ducks wouldn't come closer than that for the rest of the period.
About halfway into the period, Cam Fowler found himself unable to control the puck in the neutral zone so a speeding David Desharnais relieved him of that burden and skated off with it, forcing a predictably flat-footed Mark Fistric to take a penalty. Seconds after that penalty expired, Michael Bournival tipped a Nathan Beaulieu point shot past Jonas Hiller's glove for the opening goal.
A couple minutes later, Nick Bonino did his best impersonation of another number 13 and picked Beaulieu's pocket from behind, then passed it to Winnik, whose wrist shot wasn't much of a challenge for Carey Price. On the next shift, Perreault put in some good work in front of the Montreal net and eventually drew a penalty. The ensuing power play, surprise surprise, was atrocious.
With three and a half minutes to go in the first, Getzlaf put the puck on the tape of Bournival deep in the Ducks' zone, and the Habs' rookie made a perfect pass to Plekanec. Plekanec, let it be known, can really one-time the puck, which is exactly how he scored this goal, putting his team up by two.
Second Period Recap: It's line-juggling time at the Bell Centre, and Boudreau has Getzlaf centering Winnik and Teemu Selanne, Perreault centering Emerson Etem and Corey Perry, and Bonino centering Smith-Pelly and . . . Perry? Alright, double shifting Perry. Which means . . . okay, Patrick Maroon found his way out eventually. All is well. Except for the scoreboard. So nothing is well.
Speaking of Maroon, he ever so slightly got the better of Mike Blunden in a fight three minutes into the second. A little over a minute later, Bonino danced around P.K. Subban at the Montreal blue line and zipped it over to Perry, but Price was equal to Number 10's quick shot.
Throughout the period, Sami Vatanen fumbles the puck several times and Getzlaf fails to control it down low, repeatedly. Vatanen partially made up for this with a few good rushes in the second and third periods, but Getzlaf's game doesn't have an upside tonight.
Eleven minutes in, Perreault took a seat for boarding and Brian Hayward tried to justify it with some nonsense about Lars Eller turning too quickly. I wish broadcasters would stop doing this.
Thirteen or fourteen seconds into Perreault's minor, Fowler high sticked Brian Gionta (Resisting temptation to mention that Bournival lifted Fowler's stick in order to avoid sounding hypocritical after my comment about Hazy . . . resisting . . . Nope. Had to say it.) Gionta tucked the puck in behind Hiller well before Perreault's penalty expired, so the Canadiens get some more power play time. Eller came within inches of extending his team's lead to four by nailing the crossbar, but they are ultimately unable to score again on the power play. Well, not on that one at least.
With just under six minutes to go, Perry tried to hit Subban behind Price's net and almost completely missed him, but Subban did a good job selling the call and the Habs, once again, went to the power play. This time, the Ducks' penalty killing effort got the job done. In the remaining time after Perry's penalty expired, the Ducks played their best hockey of the game up to that point, and even Getzlaf managed a decent chance.
Third Period Recap: The Twins remained separated to start the third, and would stay that way for the rest of the game. After a lackadaisical opening shift, the Ducks resumed their strong play from the last minutes of the second and generated several good chances, including two high-traffic point shots from Fowler. In the few minutes between those shots, however, Rene Bourque was able to elude Fistric and Bryan Allen long enough to field a stretch pass from Subban and walk in all alone on Hiller. Bourque tried to go five hole, but Hiller shut the proverbial door.
A third of the way through the period, Eller cross checked Silfverberg and gave the Ducks a power play that could conceivably be described as "much needed" if not for the fact that the Ducks really don't like scoring on the power play. Sure enough, the Habs held the fort for the next two minutes, but lo and behold, they gave up a goal twenty seconds after Eller's penalty expired! Smith-Pelly disrupted Josh Gorges' attempt to move the puck up the ice, and Bonino headed the other direction with the puck before dishing a perfect pass to Maroon who then cashed in on the favor Bonino owed him for the play they made together — roles reversed — in Toronto.
A minute and a half after that, the Ducks found themselves on the power play again, but before they could blow it completely, Bonino took an obvious holding the stick penalty to make it four-on-four. Koivu found Francois Beauchemin between the circles during the extra skating room session, and Beauch made sure to shoot it right into the middle of Price's body.
Seconds after Bourque came out of the box to give his team an abbreviated power play, he accepted a pass from Plekanec and shielded the puck from Beauchemin before shoveling it between Hiller's legs on the backhand for the final goal of the night.
In the last ten minutes, the Ducks — particularly Vatanen – put on a little more pressure, but they couldn't break through again. The Montreal crowd put the last two faceoffs of the game on hold with a classy ovation for their beloved Saku Koivu.
The Good: Once again, Mathieu Perreault was the most creative and dynamic offensive player. This is great in the sense that management gave up almost nothing for a second line center. It's not so great if you consider that he was the most offensive player on a team that employs Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
The Bad: The power play. We've all talked about this enough for the last few weeks. Nothing new here, which in this case is a bad, bad thing.
The Ugly: Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers. Montreal's first goal came immediately after a power play that was caused by Cam Fowler's center ice turnover. Ryan Getzlaf very graciously gift wrapped their second goal. Even though the other two goals against weren't the direct result of turnovers, the willingness of the defensemen — all of them — and some of the forwards to give up the puck stunted any chance they might have had at a comeback, especially before the score had gotten too far away from them.
Next Game: Friday, October 25th 4:30pm PT @ Ottawa