In the Habs’ Room: Montreal Canadiens fall short against Anaheim Ducks
ANAHEIM — The Canadiens were ready to play against the Anaheim Ducks Tuesday night.
They just weren’t ready to play 60 minutes.
A dominant first period failed to produce a goal and the second period allowed the Ducks to take 2-0 lead. The home side held on for a 2-1 win at Honda Center.
“I don’t think it’s that we’re not ready to play,” said defenceman Jeff Petry. “We showed we were ready to play in the first period, but there was a lapse in the second where we opened ourselves up.”
The Canadiens outshot the Ducks 17-10 in the first period but trailed 1-0 on a power-play goal by Richard Rackell.
The Ducks had the edge in the second period, outshooting the Canadiens 21-13 and adding to their lead on a goal by defenceman Cam Fowler.
“They are a big body team,” goaltender Carey Price said. “They are a heavy team playing down low. They did what they wanted to do and leaned on us. They kept throwing pucks at the net, jammed one in and got a lucky bounce on the other one, and that’s all they needed. Their goaltender played pretty well for them.”
Rackell was the player who jammed one in, scoring on a rebound after rice stopped two shots in close.
Fowler was the benefit of what Price called a lucky bounce.
“It was a weird angle,” Fowler said. “My body was facing the boards, so it’s not an ideal angle to get everything you want on the shot, but I’m not complaining. I think it changed direction, so that’s probably why it went in.”
It did indeed change direction. Alex Galchenyuk got his stick on the shot and Price, who was screened by Ryan Kesler and defenceman Andrei Markov, didn’t have time to react.
“Our guy deflected it but you can’t blame him because he’s trying to make a play.”
Price, who lost in regulation for only the second time this season — he’s 13-2-1 — made 36 saves but John Gibson stopped a career-high 39 for the Ducks.
“Pricey came up big for us, and kept us in the game,” Petry said. “We’ve gotten away from our game. We were using our speed in the first, then we got away from that. It’s something that we need to learn from because if we use our speed, we’re a tough team to handle.”
Gibson said the Ducks were motivated by playing Price and the Canadiens.
“We knew it was a big game,” Gibson said. “It was a good test. They’re the best team in the league and everyone wants to see how they stack up against the best. We played well. There were spurts when they dominated and there were spurts when we had lots of good possession and played how we wanted.
“You know you have to be good (when you pay against Price),” Gibson added. “He usually doesn’t give up too many, so you have to put it upon yourself to do the best you can.
“Both team got a lot of scoring chances,” said Montreal coach Michel Therrien. “Both goalies played really well. I liked the way we got out of the gate tonight. I thought we were ready to play (but) I didn’t like the way we played in the second. They put pressure on us and we didn’t react the right way but we gave it all that we had in the third.
“This is something we addressed to the team about our second period,” Therrien said. “We have to make sure we maintain that push when we start ticking.”