Gorges leads the NHL with 212 blocks this season. That’s 41 more than runner-up François Beauchemin of Anaheim.
You have to admire the courage, the absolute indifference to pain of guys who do this for a living. As we saw with Alexei Emelin in the Friday night game, blocking shots can be hazardous to your health.
Watching all those shots being blocked, however, is hazardous to the mental health of Canadiens’ fans – because Gorges wouldn’t have to be rising life and limb every night if the puck were in the other end more often.
Which it hardly ever is, unless David Desharnais, Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty are on the ice.
Against Ottawa, even the Two and a Half Men line had an off-night. We’ll cut them some slack: DD & Co. have carried this team all season, and it was difficult to get any rhythm or flow going due to the ridiculous amount of time one team or the other was on a power-play.
Tomas “Whom Do I Have to Sleep With to Get Decent Wingers?” Plekanec played 11:49 shorthanded – scoring the goal that held up until the third period – and 11:03 at even-strength.
That’s absurd for a player who’s your Number 1-A centre.
Plekanec, Gorges, Carey Price and P.K. Subban were the best Canadiens in Ottawa. Minus their heroism, the score would have been 7-1 in regulation time, and the Canadiens would be coming home without the stupid point that – given this team’s luck – will end up costing them in the draft lottery.
Ottawa had 33 shots on goal. Gorges and friends blocked 25, and the Senators missed the net 21 times. That includes five shots that hit posts or the crossbar: it was a carillon concert in Kanata.
Corresponding numbers for the Canadiens: a season-low 14SoG, 11 blocks by the Senators, three misses.
Nine Canadiens had no shots on goal. That’s not entirely surprising in the case of Petteri Nokelainen, Brad Staubitz and Aaron Palushaj, the fourth-liners who played minimal minutes.
But P.K. didn’t have a SoG. And neither did Louis Leblanc – playing with Lars Eller, who had three, and Mike Blunden, who had a shot to go with his six hits.
Which brings us to Pleks’s linemates:
Ryan White: Zero shots. Not even an attempt. But he had three hits.
Rene Bourque: No shots. One blocked – by Erik Karlsson, on a play where Bourque should have driven to the net and drawn a call against the Ottawa Dman. Oh, and one non-thunderous hit.
Randy Cunneyworth called Bourque out after practice on Thursday. The coach said the team needs more from a player with size, speed, grit and – on the evidence of back-to-back 27-goal seasons in Calgary – a nose for the net.
Michel Bergeron got off a good one on L’Antichambre. He said the Canadiens always end up with the wrong guy: Marcel Hossa instead of Marian and Rene, not Raymond, Bourque.
In 27 games with the Canadiens, Bourque has four goals and three assists. He’s minus-16.
Bourque is well on the way to being enshrined in the Canadiens Hall of Shame: the Perry Turnbull Wing, reserved for power forwards with size, speed and skill who manage to piss away their talent in a CH sweater.
Recent inductees include Andrei Kostitsyn and Benoit Pouliot. Off his play to date, Bourque makes those two stiffs look like Bill Guerin and Keith Tkachuk.
I think Cunneyworth will make Bourque a healthy scratch against the Islanders at the Bell Centre Saturday night. Blake Geoffrion will draw in, with another chance to prove that great gene pool hasn’t grown too shallow.
Perhaps Andrei Markov will be back against the Islanders. He’ll help a power play that went 0-for-4 in Ottawa.
I hope Frédéric St. Denis gets another start. He was mesmerized by Daniel F. Alfredsson on winning goal in OT, but that will happen. St. Denis played a decent game – better than his D partner, Chris Campoli.
The league’s top-ranked penalty kill had another perfect night. Ottawa was 0-for-9, including 1:33 of 5-on-3.
Again, though, the number of times the Canadiens are shorthanded is indicative of the extent to which they’re chasing the puck and fouling in a futile effort to get it back. Ten minor penalties is brutal … even when Chris Lee is one of the zebras.
Deliverance from all this at hand, peeps: 10 games to go.