Game 25, Away Game 11 | Sunday December 4, 2016 
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

5-4

KINGS
Los Angeles

(Photo by Juan Ocampo/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings 

Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Radulov
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Gallagher
Danault – Desharnais – Shaw
Byron – Mitchell – Flynn

Emelin – Weber
Markov – Petry
Barberio – Pateryn

Goaltenders

Price
Montoya

Scratches

Daniel Carr, Zach Redmond

Injured Reserve

Charles Hudon (sternum), Nathan Beaulieu (upper body)

Game Report

Wins in California for the Montreal Canadiens are rare, so this one is to be celebrated. After tallying zero goals in the first 50 minutes of each of the first three games of the road trip, the Habs offence erupted for four goals. That alone, is reason for optimism. Let’s not dampen the mood by pointing out that the Canadiens are winless in regulation in four road games on this trip.

The offence was driven by Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov with three points each in the game. Radulov also added a highlight reel goal in the shootout. The pair along with Alex Galchenyuk formed a new line combination that was partly successful. Galchenyuk was the weak link on this day, struggling against the Kings prior to leaving the game with a lower-body injury.

Radulov also provided a spark to the Canadiens power-play, ranked in the top five in the league. Radulov’s playmaking threat is a perfect compliment to the cannon of Shea Weber on the point. If an opponent’s penalty-kill units focus on taking away the shot, Radulov and his mates can beat them down low.

Artturi Lehkonen continues to impress. This should be no surprise for those who have followed his career closely. While just an NHL rookie, Lehkonen has the experience of playing in a top men’s league which has helped developed his considerable natural talents. Lehkonen continues to create scoring chances for linemates while remaining defensively responsible.

On the other end of the spectrum, a Canadiens team with Carey Price in net shouldn’t be allowing four goals in a game. Some fans myopically pointed the finger at Price, calling it an ‘off-game’ for the Canadiens’ MVP. That’s simply absurd.

Instead, credit should go to the Kings’ ability to plant big forwards in the Montreal crease. Post-game Drew Doughty talked about the game-plan to screen the best goaltender in the world. Anze Kopitar said that the objective was to “get in his eyes.”

Perhaps J.J. Daigneault’s game plan should have centred on using his defencemen to box out Kings’ forwards and to clear a path for Price. Speaking of Daigneault, the Canadiens penalty-killing, for years a fixture at the top of the rankings, continues to slide. Montreal is now 21st in the league while short-handed.

~~~

▲     Alexander Radulov, Max Pacioretty, Artturi Lehkonen, Andrei Markov

▼     Mark Barberio, Alex Galchenyuk, penalty-killers

 Statistics 
CANADIENS   KINGS
30 Shots 31
42% Face-offs 58%
2 for 5 Power Play 2 for 4
8 Penalty Minutes 10
29 Hits 42
63 Corsi For 57
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (17-6-2) 1 2 1 0 1 5
 Ducks (13-10-2) 0 4 0 0 0 4
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: Pacioretty (6), Pacioretty (7), Radulov (5), Shaw (6). Byron: game-deciding goal
  • ANA: Carter (11), Shore (1), Doughty (4), Lewis (4)
  • MTL: Price (W) 14-3-1
  • ANA: Budaj (L) 
 NHL Three Stars

NHL3stars
  1.  Alexander Radulov  MTL
  2.  Anze Kopitar  LAK
  3. Max Pacioretty  MTL

 Video Highlights 
 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien

  • “[Andrew Shaw] is doing a lot of good things. That was a big goal. We needed to tie things up as quickly as possible in the third period. We’re seeing the player we want to see more and more as the season goes on. He’s been playing some really good hockey lately.”
  • “The guys showed a lot of tenacity. They put in a great effort. It’s good for their confidence [to score four goals]. Since the start of the trip, we’ve been seeing a lot of good things. We probably could have had better results, but we never doubted our work ethic. The guys played with a lot of energy.”

Max Pacioretty

  • “The team definitely hasn’t had a lot of success out here, so to get a win here in LA against a big, strong team, who every year competes, it’s important for us. This is a measuring stick team that I think teams come in and try to see what they have when they play against a team like this. It shows a lot about our character.”

Paul Byron

  • “It was a great character win by our team. Getting that early goal gave our team a lot of momentum, a lot of juice in the game. We gave up a couple back to them, but just kept grinding away and found a way to win.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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