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Game 47: Canadiens vs Flames AKA Taming the Flames

January 14, 2020, 12:27 PM ET [501 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
After winning in Ottawa on Saturday by the smallest of margins, the Habs were hoping to win a second game in a row when they welcomed the Flames last night. I think it's fair to say that most fans were actually hoping for the opposite and looking at the standings it's quite understandable. The thing is though, this team is made of professionals who want to win and are paid to do so...unless Bergevin decides to become a seller, do not expect them to try to lose...and even then, they won't be trying to lose they'll just be using inexperienced players because they've sold assets.

The Habs came rushing out of the games last night and they both outplayed and outworked the Flames. They put up a dominating performance in the first period shooting on Rittich's net 17 times compared to the Flames' 7 shots. Try as they might though, they only managed to score once when Jordan Weal spun around and put the puck on net after Petry did pretty much all the work. Dale Weise actually got the secondary assist on that one, getting his first point as a Hab since February 2016. At the other end of the ice, Price was feeling almost lonely and bored and came close to giving up a goal when he looked like it had almost woken him but from them on, he was dialed in. While the Canadiens were dominating, the slim lead was a bit of a concern, especially considering how fragile this team's confidence has been lately but they held on until the end of the 1st and went back to the room still leading 1-0.

The 2nd frame was pretty much more of the same with the Habs shooting 15 times while the Flames took 9 shots on goal and didn't really threaten Carey Price. The Canadiens enjoyed a couple of power plays but failed to take advantage of them. Meanwhile, the Flames also got a man-advantage but couldn't solve Price and the score still stood at 1-0 after 40.

Midway through the 3rd, Ryan Poehling finally scored his 4th career goal and it's fair to say that it was a deserved one. The rookie had played 19 pointless games this season but it definitely wasn't for lack of trying and as Poehling said himself, you could see it coming. He had had some great opportunities lately and it was only a question of time before he was able to convert one. The Habs were able to hang on to that 2-0 lead, even when the Flames pulled their goalie and Carey Price was able to celebrate his 46th shutout (which ties Ken Dryden at 3rd in team history, good luck catching up Plante (58) and Hainsworth (75) though). In the end, Price made 31 saves and was rather occupied in the 3rd when the Flames took 15 shots. This was the kind of win Canadiens' fans were once used to, a low scoring affair with a solid Carey Price that makes it unnecessary to score many goals.

As a bonus, we also saw a pretty sweet hit from Cale Fleury and that sweet hit became even sweeter when we realized that the rag doll he hit was good old Milan Lucic:

While the first line couldn't get on the scoresheet, they did look good out there and it seems like Kovalchuk has more chemistry with his line mates by the minute. Danault was the most used forward last night with 22 minutes of ice time but Kovy was a close second with 21 minutes and 13 seconds. In 5 games so far, he's played between 18:36 and 21:22. Say what you will about Kovalchuk, he may be getting old but he sure is still in shape! The quote of night however belongs to Jesperi Kotkaniemi, this absolutely cracked me up:

The Habs were already back to work this morning in Brossard and there was a welcome addition at the team practice. Joel Armia was skating alongside his teammates and rotating with Nick Cousins on the 3rd line with Poehling and Kotkaniemi. Make no mistake though, this does not mean that he will be back tomorrow against Chicago. Claude Julien has already made it clear that Armia, Drouin and Byron are not expected back before the all-star break.

Side note for those of you who live in Québec, it's been announced that a Montreal Canadiens' legend will be attending the Tournoi Peewee de Québec on February 15th. On that day, Ken Dryden will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs and if you know anything about collecting, you know how rare it is for Ken Dryden to do a public signing. I for one will definitely be making my way to the Centre Videotron to meet the most dominating goaltender of the '70s.
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