By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – The Montreal Canadiens revived their ailing power play on Thursday night and beat the Coyotes 4-2 at Jobing.com Arena.
Mike Cammalleri and Glen Metropolit scored power-play goals for the Canadiens, who also scored a four-on-four goal and an empty-netter to extend Phoenix’s winless streak against them to 11 games.
Robert Lang and Paul Bissonnette lit the lamp for Phoenix, which dropped to 1-4-0 in November.
The Coyotes put 20 shots on Montreal goalie Carey Price, who is the second cousin of Coyotes captain Shane Doan.
"We struggled moving the puck out of our end, we struggled moving the puck through the neutral zone and we didn’t generate a whole lot,” Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “There were not a lot of shots and not a lot of quality scoring opportunities.”
After neither team scored in the first period, Doan was called for tripping Brian Gionta at 6:05 of the second period. With 58 seconds left in the power play, Cammalleri easily beat Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov from in close after a quick cross-crease pass from Tomas Plekanec at 7:07. It was the first of three assists for Plekanec.
Not long after Bryzgalov stoned Cammalleri on a second-period breakaway, Coyotes center Robert Lang, who played for Montreal last season, beat Price with a wrist shot from the base of the left circle at 10:54 to make the score 1-1.
Early in the third period, Montreal's Roman Hamrlik was called for tripping. Not to be outdone, Phoenix's Matthew Lombardi was called for hooking at 5:04 to create a four-on-four session for 13 seconds. Six seconds into Lombardi's penalty, Marc-Andre Bergeron ripped a shot past Bryzgalov from the top of the left circle to give Montreal a 2-1 lead.
Montreal quickly upped its lead to 3-1 when Metropolit lifted the puck over Bryzgalov from in close early on a power play at 6:12.
The Canadiens entered the game 1 for 16 on recent power plays.
“As I’ve always said, I think there’s always two factors in determining a game, special teams and goaltending,” Canadiens Head Coach Jacques Martin said. “Tonight they were the key factors.”
It didn’t affect the outcome, but the most memorable moment of the game came when Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette scored his first NHL goal at 9:30 of the third period. Defenseman Shaun Heshka took a shot from the blue line and the puck hit Bissonnette's left skate and ricocheted past Price. After a lengthy review, the goal was allowed to stand and Montreal's lead was cut to 3-2.
• Coyotes defenseman Sami Lepisto was injured in the second period but returned later. His status for Saturday's game vs. Dallas was not immediately disclosed.
• Phoenix's Paul Bissonnette and Montreal's Jay Leach, whom the Coyotes drafted in 1998, swapped punches in the second period.
• Coyotes defenseman Shaun Heshka assisted on Bissonnette's goal. It was his first point in the NHL.
• Coyotes forward Taylor Pyatt and his younger brother Tom Pyatt competed against each other in an NHL game for the first time. Tom Pyatt is a rookie center for Montreal.
• Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney had this to say about rumors he is considering signing veteran Chris Chelios to bolster the injury-depleted defensive unit: "Chris Chelios is one of many defensemen we are reviewing given the current injuries to Ed Jovanovski, Zbynek Michalek and Kurt Sauer. We have not determined whether he is someone we would be interested in signing at this stage."
“It’s pretty cool. I was telling the guys on the bench ‘Man, it would be cool to score 50 like guys like Ovechkin and Malkin'... It’s a special feeling.”
“We weren’t good on the power play and it starts with myself. I have to make plays, and their guys made plays when they got the chances and that’s the difference.”
“I thought they played very cautiously. They really make sure they have a good shot before they shoot it. I thought they were a little hesitant to shoot a little bit, but they were very careful on the defensive side of the puck.”
• Nov. 12, 2009: MTL 4, PHX 2
1 - 0 MTL