Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. Here’s how things might have looked in Saturday night’s game between the Canadiens and the Anaheim Ducks at the Bell Centre.
Good things happen when your best players are your best players.
The Canadiens proved that Saturday night as they defeated the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 at the Bell Centre.
Montreal’s top line of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Erik Cole provided all of the offence while goaltender Carey Price shut out the Ducks until Ryan Getzlaff scored late in the third period.
The win gave the Canadiens six consecutive wins and their 6-2 record is second only to the Vancouver Canucks, who are off to a 7-1 start.
Desharnais scored the first of his two goals at 10:48 of the first period when he lifted the puck over Jonas Hiller after the Anaheim goaltender went down to block a shot by Erik Cole. Hiller lunged for the loose puck but Desharnais was too quick.
“I was afraid that I might hit him in the head as he dove but I was up to flick the puck and it went just below the crossbar,” said Desharnais.
The diminutive centre picked up an assist when Pacioretty scored his fifth goal of the season at 1:05 of the second period. Pacioretty deflected Andrei Markov’s slapshot from the point.
Desharnais made it 3-0 at 4:43 of the second period when he combined with Pacioretty and Cole on a 3-on-2 break. Pacioretty took a hit from Sheldon Souray as he stormed into the Ducks zone but he managed to puck the puck to Desharnais. Pacioretty was shaken up on the play but only missed one shift.
“It was a stinger,” said Pacioretty. “I’ll probably be sore tomorrow but it’s nothing serious.”
Price made 35 saves as the Ducks outshot the Canadienc 36-31.
Brandon Prust was in a short fight with Nate Guenin in the third period. Prust tagged the journeyman with a left hand which took all the fight out of him.
The game probably marked the last Montreal performance for former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu.
“We only come here every two years and I think this is probably my last year,” said Koivu. “There aren’t too many guys who were here when I left but it’s always nice to come back to Montreal . I have a lot of great memories from my time here.”