(Photo: Dario Ayala /The Gazette)
A Canadiens victory seemed improbable at the end of the first period when they had managed only three shots on goal. But they–and the Bell Centre–came to life as the Habs rallied for three goals in the third period to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1.
“I liked the way we won that game,” said coach Michel Therrien. “We never quit. We kept battling. We were putting the pressure starting in the second period and we started to play our style of hockey. And this is one of the reasons why I’m satisfied with the team effort.”
They started the game well, but their first penalty in the offensive zone (a holding call against Daniel Brière) cut their momentum and gave a lot of it to the Coyotes, he said.
“And when they got that momentum we were having a hard time to get it back.”
Therrien changed his defensive pairings during the game, putting Andrei Markov with his former defence partner Alexei Emelin, P.K. Subban with Josh Gorges and Raphael Diaz with Douglas Murray.
“We didn’t like the transition from the defencemen to the forwards, especially in the first period,” Therrien explained. “It’s been like that probably about the last 10 days I’ll say and we figured it was a good time to make those changes.”
They want to have a player on the ice who has been recognized for moving the puck well, Therrien said, noting Markov, Subban and Diaz in the different pairings.
Max Pacioretty scored the game-winning goal, which went off Coyotes defenceman Michael Stone’s skate, and an empty-netter for his team-leading 14th goal.
“Coach was leaning on our line and when he gives you that type of opportunity you want to deliver, especially when things are going not how you want them to go,” Pacioretty said.
“He gave us every opportunity in the world to succeed tonight and I think that was our motivation as a line to maybe step up.”
You can watch what Pacioretty had to say after the game here:
And you can listen to Canadiens goaltender Carey Price here:
You can watch Markov here:
And you can listen to what Gorges had to say here: (He helped break up a scoring chance near the end of the game during a 4 on 1 rush by the Coyotes.)
(Video: Brenda Branswell)