The Montreal Canadiens have had oodles of chances to get their power play on track in the opening month of the season.
The first period at Bell Centre on Saturday wasn’t much different as the Red Wings sent two players to the penalty box in the first period.
Fortunately for the Wings, the Habs’ power play continued to struggle. Center Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Andrei Markov both misfired on perfect chances that would have given the Canadiens a lead in the first 20 minutes.
The Canadiens were 0-for-2 on the power play in the first period and are now 2-for-23 in the season.
Standing in front of the crease on Montreal’s first man-advantage, Glachenyuk sent a knuckleball toward the net. With starting goalie Petr Mrazek out of postion, Jonathan Ericsson made a heady – inside the crease – play to knock the puck out of midair with his opened right hand.
During the Canadiens’ second power play, Markov had a wide-open net to shoot at after Petr Mrazek made the initial save at the far side of the crease. But the Canadiens’ defenseman rang a one-timer off the outside of the right post.
Meanwhile, the Red Wings’ newly formed fourth line – Drew Miller, Joakim Andersson and Darren Helm – created a few good scoring opportunities, especially Millers with under four minutes to play in the period.
The line pressured the puck and had good zone time. Miller got the line’s only shot of the period, snapping a quick wrister from the left circle that was stopped by Carey Price
Though the best chance of the period came when Gustav Nyquist and Riley Sheahan coasted in alone on Price in the final minute. Entring the zone with speed, Nyquist wired a shot toward the top of the net, but Price reacted in time to deflect the puck with his left catching glove.
DETROIT 0, MONTREAL 0
PENALTIES: 1, DET, Andersson (boarding), 3:07; 2, MTL, Semin (slashing), 6:42; 3. DET, Helm (holding the stick), 9:32.
SHOTS: Detroit 8, Montreal 12
The Canadiens made a bid to score first in the opening four minutes of the middle frame, but it was the Red Wings who jumped in front on a fluky goal by rookie Dylan Larkin.
After Mrazek made a blocker save on Max Pacioretty’s a close-range shot toward the Wings neet from the right of Mrazek. But the Wings’ goalie deflected the shot with his right blocker, which sent Detroit on a rush down the ice.
With 15:28 on the clock, Mrazek made a solid blocker save on Pacioretty’s shot from 10 feet. The save sprung the Wings on a rush down the where Larkin’ backhand shot from low inside the left circle eluded P.K. Subban’s clearing attempt and squeezing through Price’s pads.
The Canadiens got the equalizer on a controversial goal when Brendan Gallagher slid skates first into the net with the puck.
The referees and linemen got together at center ice, but couldn’t come up with a call on their own. Eventually the crew called the situation room in Toronto for an official ruling on the play at 7:44.
To the delight of the sold-out crowd at Bell Centre, referee Dave Jackson announced that, “the puck entered the net in a legal fashion.”
Things got rough when Torrey Mitchell hit Teemu Pulkkinen from behind along the boards in the Canadiens zone. The Habs’ center only received a two-minute minor for boarding Pulkkinen into the half wall at 17:14.
The Wings, however, did not register a shot on Price during the power play.
DETROIT 1, MONTREAL 1
SCORING: 1, DET, Larkin (Zetterberg), 4:47; 2, MTL, Gallagher PPG (unassisted), 7:44.
PENALTIES: 1, DET, Abdelkader (roughing), 7:18; 2, MTL, Fleischmann (tripping), 12:53; 3, MTL, Mitchell (boarding), 17:14.
SHOTS: Detroit 9 (17); Montreal 9 (21).
One too many treks to the penalty box by the Red Wings cot them dearly. The Canadiens’ power play notched the game-tying goal in the second and the winner on their next opportunity in the third.
The Canadiens’ PP chance was made possible when Ericsson was whistled for tripping minor for taking down David Desharnais at 5:20.
Less than a minute later, and metro Detroit native, Jeff Petry, the son of former Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Dan Petry, scored his first goal of the season.
Petry, who was acquired from Edmonton before last season’s trade deadline, walked along the blue line seeking a shooting lane before blistering a shot through traffic, beating Mrazek, who was screened in front by Deshanrnais
As he was throughout the night, Mrazek was again spectacular late in the third keeping the Wings in the game until Tomas Plekanec iced Montreal’s win on a Mike Green turnover at 17:56.
Detroit’s penalty killers also were responsible for holding the Canadiens to a one-goal lead for much of the period. The Wings’ PK went 3 for 5 against the only undefeated team in the Eastern Conference.
Center Brian Flynn capped with the Canadiens’ win with an empty-net goal at 19:59.
MONTREAL 4, DETROIT 1
SCORING: 1, MTL, Petry PPG (Glachenyuk, Deshanrnais), 6:32; 2, MTL, Plekanec (Gallagher), 17:56; MTL, Flynn EN (unassisted), 19:59.
PENALTIES: 1, DET, Ericsson (tripping), 5:20; 2, DET, Larkin (interference), 12:42.
SHOTS: Detroit 5 (22); Montreal 19 (40).