MONTREAL — It appears that the Canadiens have learned from their mistakes.
The Canadiens had a 2-0 lead in their game against the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday but fell apart in the second and lost 4-3.
On Thursday night, they grabbed a 2-0 lead against the Anaheim Ducks, but this time they stuck to the game plan and came away with a solid 4-1 win at the Bell Centre.
“The difference was that we had our third man high,” said captain Brian Gionta. “The last couple of games, we allowed too many odd-man rushes, 2-on-1s and 3-on-2s but tonight we did a good job and having that third man in position to apply the back pressure.”
Gionta said the players talked about sticking to the system.
“We kept the momentum going, but we also stayed within the system,” Gionta said. “We had a good second period and they pushed back in the third, but we were able to hold them off. We’ve been happy with our starts and we had to maintain that.”
The Canadiens have been talking a lot about balanced scoring on this team and it was the line of Gionta, Tomas Plekanec and rookie Michael Bournival that had a hand in each of the four goals.
“We need different lines to step up at different teams,” Gionta said. “Teams are going to key on certain lines and it’s up to the other lines to step up.”
Therien said he has been impressed with Bournival, who has gone from being a fourth-liner to top-six player with points in each of his last four games.
“The chemistry is there with those three guys,” Therrien said. “Bournival brings a lot of speed to that line, he skates well and he competes. And he’s taking advantage of the opportunity to play with two veteran players.”
“He’s playing with confidence,” said Plekanec, who led the offence with a goal and two assists. “The game is so fast and you need players with his speed to support the offence. You can’t play a fancy game and he plays a simple game. He skates hard and he plays with confidence.”
Bournival said he gets help from the veterans.
“They have a lot of experience and they’re talking to me all the time on the bench,” Bournival said.
He opened the scoring when he deflected Nathan Beaulieu’s shot from the point.
“I said you broke my stick and he said ‘I know, I shoot too hard,’” Bournival said. “I was at the right place at the right moment.”.
The prettiest goal of the night was scored by Gionta, who picked the puck out of the air when Plekanec flipped it in front behind the net on a power play.
“It’s the American way,” said Gionta, who said he has played a little baseball. “It’s the national pastime.”
David Desharnais didn’t earn a mention on the scoring summary but he might have played his best game of the season. He drew a penalty by going hard to the net and was effective in the faceoff circle where he won 13 of 15 draws.
“This was a game he can build on,” said Therrien. “I liked his game in Winnipeg and tonight I thought he was working hard. It was his best game.” .
Therrien said he was glad that Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau put former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu on the ice for the last shift of the game. That gave the fans a chance to salute him with a standing ovation and he received another one when he was introduced as the game’s third star.
“He’s been a great captain here for 10 years and this is why this is a special place,” Therrien said. “I’m glad the fans gave him an ovation to recognize the courage he showed when he played here in Montreal.”
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