MONTREAL – In Tuesday’s postgame notebook, David Desharnais talks about shot quality over quantity, Lars Eller looks to light the lamp and Jacob De La Rose dissects his first day at the office.
Having won the Molson Cup Trophy four times in as many months as the Canadiens’ first star on most nights, Carey Price has given the Habs a chance to win every single time he’s been between the pipes in 2014-15. Price’s All-Star worthy performances have helped the Canadiens pile up an impressive 16-9-2 record when being outshot this year and the team has lost just four times in regulation or extra time when landing 30 or more shots on goal – three of which have now come against the Sabres. With 92 shot attempts for and just 40 against on Tuesday, the Habs came out firing against Buffalo, outshooting the visitors by a 34-18 margin, proving that sometimes quality matters more than quantity when it comes to the shot count.
“Some games we’ll be outshot 42 to 30 but we’ll find a way to win. The number of shots isn’t always important; the result is the only thing that matters,” stressed David Desharnais, who had a goal and an assist against Buffalo. “The biggest thing tonight was we had a bad start to the game and that cost us. We were better after that and we dominated the next two periods. In the third period we wanted to get between 15 and 20 shots. We did that and you saw the results. They don’t all have to be pretty shots; you just need to get the puck to the net.”
TURN ON THE RED LIGHT: Despite sitting pretty in the standings with 32 wins in 50 games this season, the Canadiens haven’t exactly been scoring with ease on a nightly basis. Currently ranked 22nd in the league in goals per game, the Habs have had a particularly tough time lighting the lamp of late, scoring just nine goals in their last five games. With 50.4% of his team’s 127 goals to date coming off the sticks of the same five players, Lars Eller admits secondary scoring will be the key to the Canadiens’ success down the stretch.
“We would like to score more goals. I think we have one line here and there that’s hot one game and the next game it another line, but mostly it’s been the first two lines scoring,” admitted Eller, who sits seventh in Canadiens scoring with eight goals. “The bottom line is that most of the time we’ve found ways to win games even though we haven’t been scoring a lot. We have the personnel to score goals and we’ve done it in the past. We can’t dig ourselves a hole here. The good thing is we’ve done it before so we can do it again. We just have to look forward; learn from the past, but look forward.”STARTING BLOCKS:
Jacob De La Rose’s first career NHL game didn’t go exactly the way he had envisioned it when he arrived in Montreal from Hamilton on Monday afternoon. On the ice for all four first period goals on Tuesday, including Brandon Prust’s one-timer to tie it up early on, the 19-year-old Swede is happy to have his NHL debut under his belt, but he’s already planning a few adjustments for career game No. 2.
“It was a tough start being minus-3 in the first period, but I’m happy with my second and third periods. This is the best level you can get to, so it’s tough. It was a really good experience playing my first NHL game and now I know what it’s all about,” described De La Rose, who had five hits in his 12:34 workload on Tuesday alongside Eller and Jiri Sekac. “You have to stay focused and take pride on the defensive side of the puck. I don’t feel good about being on the ice when the other team scores. There’s nothing I can do about it after, I just have to look forward. I feel like I can play way better.” Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.comSEE ALSO Highlights: Canadiens-SabresBoxscoreThe Numbers Game - February 3, 2015 Carey Price earns Molson Cup honour for JanuaryPrice, Paquette and Dubnyk named stars of the week60 Minutes