The Canadiens enjoyed a well-deserved day off Sunday after winning all three of their games last week, beating Minnesota 6-2 on Tuesday, Washington 3-2 on Friday and Pittsburgh 3-2 on Saturday.
“We played a strong game as a team,” Tomas Plekanec told reporters following Saturday’s game. “When you’re playing against the best player in the world, you want to shut him down and make sure he’s not on the scoresheet. That’s what we did.”
The Canadiens held Sidney Crosby off the scoresheet for only the fourth time in his 23 lifetime regular-season games against Montreal.
Plekanec dominated Crosby, winning 14 of 19 faceoffs against the Penguins superstar for a 74-per-cent head-to-head success rate. Plekanec went 16-for-21 on the night in the faceoff circle for a 76-per-cent success rate.
Crosby had four shots on goal, was minus-1 and won only 22 per cent of his faceoffs overall.
“He was talking all the time,” Plekanec said about Crosby. “I didn’t say anything. I was just listening. I’m a good listener.”
Coach Michel Therrien was pleased with the line changes he made last week that resulted in three victories with Max Pacioretty scoring five goals in the three games – including two against Pittsburgh - after being reunited with David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher.
“I’m satisfied because we got results,” Therrien said. “We had three wins this week playing against Minnesota that had one loss in 12 games. We get the win in Washington and then beat the best team in the conference. We got results and that’s what we were looking for when we made these changes.”
The Canadiens scored 12 goals in the three wins after going through an 11-game stretch in which they scored only 18 goals.
The Canadiens have another three-game week coming up with stops in Buffalo on Wednesday (7 p.m., RDS, TSN-HABS, TSN Radio 690), Washington on Friday (5 p.m., RDS, TSN-HABS, TSN Radio 690) and then a Saturday Hockey Night in Canada showdown with the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
(Photo by Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)