BUFFALO - The Habs talk shots on goal, pulling a surprising move and work in the crease.
Peppering pucks: The Canadiens may not have gotten a puck past Sabres’ netminder Ryan Miller in Wednesday night’s game, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. Upping their shot output to nearly 35 over three periods, the Habs clearly didn’t have trouble creating an initial scoring chance, according to Josh Gorges, it was the follow up that could have used some work.
“I think we did a decent job of getting pucks to the net with 34 shots – that’s what we wanted to do. I don’t know if we did enough to get traffic in front of him and get those second and third opportunities,” explained Gorges who for his part took another step towards breaking the Canadiens single-season shot blocking record, adding four more to his tally against the Sabres. “Miller did come up big on a couple of occasions and made some big saves for them. That might have been the difference in the end. This is a team playing for their playoff lives and we knew they were going to have a big push. That’s just part of hockey.”
Something new: Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth still has his share of ideas in the tank when it comes to trying to shaking things up on the ice for his team. With the Habs trailing 3-0 with a little under four minutes remaining on the clock, Cunneyworth tried to take the Sabres by surprise by pulling goaltender Carey Price. The scenario didn’t quite get the chance to play itself out with Erik Cole taking a penalty almost immediately after, but the Habs coach would still have liked to see the effect.
“I thought that we could try and catch them off guard. We were ready. Our goalie was ready. We were in position to put some pressure on them with that move,” explained Cunneyworth. “We wanted to put pressure on Miller at that precise moment, but we got away with a few penalties earlier in the game that could have been called and the ones at the end were probably those catching up with us.”
The other goalie: Who better to appreciate the work of one netminder than the goalie manning the opposite crease? Despite the loss, Carey Price still managed 28 saves and didn’t hesitate directing some credit in Ryan Miller’s direction.
“Miller played a great game. He made a lot of important saves for his team,” expressed Price of Miller’s 34-save shutout for the Sabres. “They had a really good penalty kill going tonight. They were a desperate team tonight and definitely played that style of hockey throughout the game.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
The Numbers Game - Mar. 21, 2012