Game Three Recap: Canadiens 3 Rangers 1

The Canadiens defeated the Rangers 3-1 in Game 3 at MSG. (Photo by Bruce Bennett, Getty Images)

 

Coming off an exhilarating 4-3 overtime win Friday night, the Canadiens headed into Broadway looking to take their first lead of the series. Did the tweaks and changes Claude Julien made help the team?

The first period was all Montreal. Alex Galchenyuk took back his natural centre post (on the third line) with Artturi Lehkonen on his left and Andrew Shaw on his right, and they looked dominant. They cycled, had a few scoring chances and generated some really creative plays. The fourth line that was dreadful in games one and two looked revitalized with the addition of Torrey Mitchell, and he seemed helped the line early on. They were dominant in the first period rocking a 100% CF. Whether that be luck or the small Andreas Martinsen/Torrey Mitchell swap remains unclear; nevertheless, it’s good to see the fourth line not getting obliterated. The first period remained scoreless with Montreal leading in all three scoring chance categories.

The second period was scoreless until the final few minutes when a beautiful passing play on the powerplay led to this beautiful goal by Artturi Lehkonen.

Lehkonen was a beast in the playoffs last year with Frolunda HC in the Swedish league scoring 11  goals, eights assists for 19 points in 16 games. He had some chances so far this series but never got the opportunity to bury one. Breaking the ice by scoring his first playoff goal really got the monkey off his back.

Shots were 22-12 in favour of the Canadiens after 40 minutes.

1-0 Habs.

The third period was the Canadiens’ best period as it usually is. The second goal of the game came from Shea Weber with a double minor for high sticking winding down. Alexander Radulov retrieved the puck, waited a few seconds to lure Ryan McDonagh in his direction and then slipped the backhand pass to Galchenyuk who fed Shea Weber for this beautiful goal. Nice patience by Galchenyuk here.

Moments later, Alexander Radulov scored what might end up being the goal of the playoffs.

Beautiful.

The Rangers pulled Henrik Lundqvist for the extra attacker with less than five minutes remaining in the third and the Rangers capitalized after a point shot tipped off the leg of Paul Byron.

Final score: 3-1 Canadiens.

Post game thoughts: Positives

Pure Dominance

That game may have have been the best game the entire team has played under Claude Julien. A full effort for 60 minutes is something the team hasn’t been able to do for quite some time. But Sunday night, Les Boys brought it and were ready to go from the drop of the puck until the final whistle.

Alex Galchenyuk is a centre

He’s starting to get his swagger back”

– Claude Julien

Julien was right, Galchenyuk’s game has only gotten better since being promoted off the fourth line and onto the third centering Lehkonen and Andrew Shaw. He finished the night with a 56.25 CF% at even strength and 57.14 CF% in all situations. Galchenyuk had an assist on Shea Weber’s goal and went 6/9 in the faceoff circle.

Playoff Radulov is here

Radulov was a player I thought under performed in game one and in the start of game two, but he obviously turned his play around. Radulov now has two goals, three assists for five points in three games this series. In total, that’s 19 points in 21 NHL playoff games (eight goals, 11 assists).

Carey Price

Carey Price’s last six starts at Madison Square Garden have been superb.

Record: 6-0-0

GAA: 1.04

Save percentage: .960

Shutouts: 1

Special Teams

Puck movement has drastically improved since Michel Therrien was kicked to the curb, not that we should be surprised by that. The powerplay went 2/3 and they killed off all three of the Rangers’ powerplays. Their penalty kill is now 10/10 (100%) thus far. Claude Julien is a special teams’ saviour.

The Canadiens play Tuesday night at MSG looking to create a more commanding series lead. Can they do it? We’ll have to wait until Tuesday.

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Twitter: PatrickTallon81

 

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