DETROIT - In Thursday’s post-game notebook, the Canadiens show character in Detroit, Michael McCarron returns home, and Ben Scrivens continues to manage a heavy workload.
DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK: Trailing the Red Wings 1-0 following the opening 20, the Habs fell behind 4-0 during a tough second period in which the team allowed 21 shots on goal.
But credit the team’s character for not giving up and bouncing back for a strong final frame.
“Nothing special was said after the second period, in this room we just knew we had to be better. We watched them play with the puck for the entire period and it was frustrating,” admitted captain Max Pacioretty, who tallied the third of three goals scored over the period’s opening eight minutes. “If there was a bright spot to this game it’s obviously how we rebounded in the third.”
That character was evident both on and off the scoresheet.
After Stefan Matteau absorbed a solid hit from Brendan Smith which left the forward on the ice for several moments before heading to the dressing room, Phillip Danault nearly dropped the gloves opposite Smith, eventually getting a double-roughing call on the sequence.
“We’ve become a tight-knit group in here, and it shows that our year isn’t over yet. I would have done the same thing for him,” underlined Matteau. “It’s part of the game. I put myself into a vulnerable position and that’s what happened. I don’t blame it on anybody. What’s important is that everything was okay and I was able to return to the ice.”
HOMECOMING: Grosse Pointe, MI native Michael McCarron partook in his first NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday, with upwards of 40 friends and family members on hand for the occasion.
Despite not getting the desired result in his hometown debut, the contingent of newly converted Habs fans did get their money’s worth with the close, exciting contest.
“I don’t think we got off to the start that we wanted to. The first two periods killed us, but I thought we had a great third. We came back with some jump and made it a tight game,” argued the six-foot-six forward, who had scored his first goal in Montreal just two games prior. “I thought we were connecting on plays, getting the puck deep on the forecheck against their defense, and playing our style of game.”
Still, suiting up for only his 17th game with the Habs, McCarron conceded that there remains an off-ice aspect of his game that requires some work after ending the night a minus-2 with 11:33 of ice time.
“I was nervous. I’ve got to learn how to manage that, and learn how to play in front of lots of family and friends. It was my first time and it was a learning experience for me with those jitters.”
SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS: For a third consecutive game on Thursday, goaltender Ben Scrivens faced at least 40 shots on goal.
Coming off 43 and 44 shot outings in Buffalo and Ottawa respectively, the 29-year-old nevertheless refused place the blame on his teammates for the increased workload.
“That’s definitely an unfair thing to say in a team sport,” stressed Scrivens. “They were getting bounces that we just weren’t. We would try to make a breakout pass and it would hit nothing and explode, going for an icing. It was those weird little anomalies that were the most frustrating.”
But in the end, character nearly prevailed once again.
“Obviously we don’t give up on each other,” concluded the first-year Hab. “We had a tough second period as a group, but we showed some backbone in the third. We came up a bit short in the end, but I think we can all look at the guy next to us and know that he battled. No one packed it in, and that’s an important thing for this group.”
Steven Nechay is a writer for canadiens.com
Game Highlights: Canadiens vs. Red Wings
Postgame Comments: Mar. 24
Time for battle
Light at the end of the tunnel