About last night …

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Could your Montreal Canadiens – with a few bounces and more opportune shooting _ have won the game?
Absolutely.
Were they deprived of a W because of sub-par performances by a few key players.
Perhaps.
But there’s a tendency, in these parts, to assess games purely on the basis of how well or poorly our heroes perform.
We tend to forget the opponent can be capable of playing good hockey.
For the final 40 minutes of Wednesday night’s game, Boston played really good hockey.

The visitors stayed close, then took the game over with two goals early in the third period. After that, the Canadiens had to chase the game. And the Bruins were not about to let them mount a comeback.

Yes, the Canadiens’ no-longer-top line continues to struggle.

Yes, the Flying Freshmen were mostly grounded.

And yes, it’s probably a different game if Lars Eller and Tomas Plekanec score on their respective breakaways, or if Colby Armstrong and David Desharnais bury excellent chances.

But as much as we hate them, let’s give the visitors some props, shall we?

Boston played a textbook road game and deserved to win. 

They took everything the Canadiens had to offer in the first period – the Bruins didn’t get their first shot on goal till the game was 12 minutes old – and patiently hung in, confident that hard work, toughness and the confidence borne of recent success would prevail.

One of the teams on Bell Centre ice last night is the Beast of the East and a bona-fide Stanley Cup contender.

The other is a work in progress.

Progress will be gauged in Buffalo on Thursday night and back at the Bell Centre on Saturday, where the Canadiens will play their third game in four nights against the perennially pesky Leafs.

We can pick apart some faiblesses:

• Alexei Emelin added six hits to his league-leading total. But he had no clue on the Tyler Seguin goal that made it 1-1; and as a puck-mover and point shooter, Emelin is not the second coming of Bobby Orr … or Dougie Hamilton.

• Erik Cole had one shot on goal. And his bull-rushes down the wing did not trouble the Boston defence.

• Alex Galchenyuk went 1-7 on faceoffs. David Desharnais was 7-14.

• The power-play, which had been superb in the Canadiens’ first eight games, produced P.K. Subban’s first goal of the season. But Boston’s penalty-kill was superb, pressuring the Canadiens into hurried passes that produced little sustained pressure. Michel Therrien’s in-game adjustment was to reunite Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz on the first wave, after Markov and Subban struggled as a pairing. But the Canadiens’ PP problems were down low, where the forwards infrequently troubled Tuuka Rask.

Bright spots?

Rene Bourque was the Canadiens’ best skater. He used his size well and won numerous puck battles along the boards in the Bruins’ end. Bourque, Plekanec and Brian Gionta were easily the Number 1 line.

The problem was the other three units.

But again, it’s not like the Canadiens were playing the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Bruins are two seasons removed from a Stanley Cup. They have emerging stars in Seguin and Hamilton, a goaltender who’s not making anyone pine for Tim Thomas and a core of veterans – led by Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara – who know how to win.

The Canadiens had a chance to take over first place in the Eastern Conference. That didn’t happen, and the schedule is about to get tougher.

 

 

 

251 Comments

  1. nunacanadien says:

    Our small guys got shut down and it showed. DD and Gionta like the Ottawa game spent the game on their backs. It is too bad we have not solved how to look after our small tiny midgets with skills, maybe if we didn’t concentrate so hard and listen to Timmin’s experiment to see if midgets could win, and instead concentrate on signing real NHL players we wouldn’t have to watch a Gionta or a DD being shut down by gooins.

  2. PeterD says:

    I felt bad for PK last night…he gets his first goal of the season and it looked like he didn’t know what to do to celebrate..so he went into that wierd one legged gbird stance thing as shown inthe photo above…
    WTF was that…I really like the “Team first” thing…but seriously let the players celebrate goals.
    PK just doesn’t look as comfortable out there as he can be…hopefully as the season goes on he will relax and let loose a bit more.

  3. kirbhabs says:

    Eller was very good last night but can not do it Alone… He needs a chance with cole and pacs… DD has been up and down and more down, give him a press box view for 5 games, bring white in and let’s see how it goes…. Then play Eller with the kids and watch the magic… And yes Armstrong is not good enough, we need an up grade, IE Prust on the 4th line

  4. kirbhabs says:

    Anyone else notice the McQuaid and Prust moment… I see Prust saying so are we going and McQuaid not responding until the refs make it too late. Everyone says owe, too close a game, but it would have been off-setting majors n’est pas… If it is a Boston player saying let’s go with a Montreal guy not responding we are having a controversy…. Just say’n

  5. CCL says:

    If you’re gonna pay a guy who don’t contributed on your 4th line. at least make sure he can beat the crap out of any one in the NHL.

    Armstrong will never get recolonized for that.

    • AllHailTheFlower says:

      “Recolonized”? Are we shipping him to Australia?

      That’s an awesome (and appropriate) autocorrect, my friend! :D

    • Ron in Ottawa says:

      Two things I noticed last night. first, Montreal needs to get better at face offs. not sure if that is coachable but it needs to be addressed. second, after the 2nd Boston Goal, Montréal stopped rushing the Boston net. in past games we were successful by parking one and two guys in front of the other goalie. It looked last night as though no one was willing to play the price for being in front of their goalie.

    • nunacanadien says:

      That’s ok CCL is like that kid on the GOONIEs movie that can’t speak certain words good….I think he tried to say reconditioned to be a fighter. But then Nilan and others seem to have said the NHL should stop making perfectly good talented players into goons. It is possible like Larry Robinson though to find tough players who don’t have to go there. Clearly Eller and Armstrong have shown they don’t have the guts to stand up for themselves and they end up being bullied and fumbling the pass as if this is football, but really a hockey stick is used to pass the puck, to accep the pass and to skate with it, and actually used to score a goal on nets with. Just ask Subban. I guess someone forgot to tell Eller and Cole that this is what a hockey stick is for. Mind you Therrien should be doing that.

  6. Richrebellion says:

    I think the habs outplayed the bruins for most of the game but just couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities. Yes Rask made some stellar saves on a few plays but he was helpless on a bunch and it was more the fact the habs couldn’t finish, then him or the bruins making the difference. The habs had a few open nets and chances that beat rask only to go wide, they dominated a bruins team that doesn’t look like a first place team. The bruins looked over matched against the habs and had trouble containing them for most of the game. They gave up numerous scoring chances and got very few against Price. If the habs would have finished even 2 of their chances early in the game it could have easily been a rout. They didn’t get the bounces to go their way and that’s why they lost. If the habs continue to perform like they did last night they will definitely win more than they lose and I can’t wait for a rematch with the Bruins as I was not impressed at all by them!

  7. Mavid says:

    Have a dentist appointment at 6:30 (should have checked the shedule first) then I am picking up my motorcycle I bought so I will miss the first period..I am looking for another good romping so I can enjoy another Timmy’s and sandwich from the goof Buffalo fan here at work…GO HABS GO!

  8. HabsFansince49 says:

    Yes I wanted the Habs to win and yes I keenly awaited the game almost as keen as I will be on Saturday. But they lost and it is hardly a disgrace. Overall pretty good team effort for a team still trying to bond after last year’s (and many years before) mess. The Bruins are not learning a new system, not trying new lines, etc. We are and it will take a few more games, but not that many.
    A few concerns: Cole looks slow; Max-Pac may not be back to full health; DD still has not regained scoring touch; Eller though used more last night should not be on 4th line; and I can’t understand what Armstrong is doing on the team.

    • Richrebellion says:

      I think the habs looked better than the bruins last night, they pressured them and caused havoc in front of their net. Their system is working but they just couldn’t finish. Armstrong missed an open net early on a nice pass from Eller, Pleks walked around Rask and tried to stuff it short side but hit the post, Desharnais tipped a pass through rasks legs only to go wide and Bourque tipped a pass behind rask, through the blue paint and out. All those could have easily been goals with a little luck, that’s not even mentioning the 2 missed break aways and all the other great scoring chances they had. The bruins had very few chances and no break aways or missed tips in front. They scored on the few chances they had and were lucky to get out with a W. They looked over matched by our speed and even in their zone their big d struggled against the habs cycle. If they continue to play like this they will be at the top of the standings come april.

  9. Chris says:

    If I’m playing the blame game for last night’s loss, I place 100% blame on Tyler Seguin. Tricky bugger managed to “get lost” in the offensive zone and pot an easy goal, and then he landed a perfect pass into the slot that Krejci was able to tap-in.

    This makes me insanely giddy. Why you ask?

    Because our own top 3 draft pick, Alex Galchenyuk, should be even better than Tyler Seguin. I absolutely look forward to fans from other teams blaming him for ruining their night. And I don’t think I’m going to have to wait long for that to become a regular occurrence. :)

    • Loonie says:

      I joked with a buddy last night saying. “Does it bug you that Galchenyuk is already better than Seguin?”.

      Obviously a joke but Galchenyuk’s skill set is through the roof.

      I think his ceiling is Malkin-like but prefer to compare him to Stamkos with a better passing ability.

      • Chris says:

        Stamkos with better passing but worse shooting. Stamkos is probably the best shooter in the entire NHL. That guy is ridiculously accurate.

        • Loonie says:

          Galchenyuk’s shot at 18 years old is VERY comparable to Stamkos’.

          He does have to improve his accuracy but his release is unreal. Already the best on the team.

          • Chris says:

            His wrist shot is undeniably special. But Stamkos’ one-timer is unreal.

            No slight on Galchenyuk, who I watched a bit in the OHL, but he simply does not have that one-timer of Stamkos’.

            If I was looking for a better comparable in terms of shooting, I would argue that perhaps Joe Sakic or Mark Messier might be more appropriate, as both of those guys had fearsome wrist-shots that would trouble goalies even from long range.

          • Loonie says:

            I’d be fine with that. And I agree that what sets Stamkos apart other than his accuracy is his one-timer.

            It’s everything Alex Ovechkin wants his to be.

          • 25insight says:

            Time will tell. He has yet to snipe one.

          • Loonie says:

            He doesn’t have to have buried a half dozen goals for us to know that his shot is very near elite by NHL standards today.

            There isn’t a forward on our team with a better shot. You could maybe make an argument for Pacioretty…….maybe.

      • Timo says:

        I am yet to see it.

    • PeterD says:

      I don’t see Chuckie as better skilled than Seguin …not yet.
      I see the kid as a superstar in development…what I see missing and I think the only part of his game missing at this point is a bit more toughness in his forecheck game.
      He seems to let guys he is closing in on off the hook a bit too often and they break out of the offensive zone.
      I’m not suggesting Chuckie needs to be a fighter or even Lucikesque…just a bit more “in their face” checking like a Plekanec’s or even Gally73.
      But I am patient…this kid is going to be very good for years to come especially when he is able to run a line on his own without a “Prust” enforcer babysitiing him and Gally73.
      When he gets tough enough to play his own game without having to look over his shoulder for protection, he will be unbelievable.

    • nunacanadien says:

      Hey I blame Eller for being Eller knowing he is getting screwed up good, either to himself by not scoring and passing properly, or cause he knows he is on a short list, and on purpose sabotaged the team by basically hurting Price where it counts and those easy shots showed Price played hurt. Therrien should have played Budaj the first period at least to give Carey time to recover.

  10. habstrinifan says:

    On an unrelated topic… Is Mike Duffy the latest example of the ethically questionable growth in the internecine relationship of the FIFTH ESTATE and the LEGISLATIVE branch of our ‘aristocracy’.

  11. Mad Habber says:

    You all have it all wrong…the blame doesn’t go on Plekanec or Emelin, or any of the Habs players; but whoever does the TSN 690 play by play, he just got finished saying that Montreal hadn’t lost when leading, and Boston hadn’t won when behind after two; when boston scored. So clearly the blame goes all on him.

  12. bwoar says:

    Good game by the Habs. A bit o’ puck luck in period one goes to the Bruins, and they squeak one out. Nothing to worry about.

    Positive note: We’re good at scoring first. We did it even after Rask utterly stoned us the entire first frame. Not something to ignore if we sneak into the playoffs.

    Negative note: Can’t stand watching a team be so terrible at draws. Since, like, forever. Wish one of our last 4+ GMs would do something about this. Not something to ignore if we sneak into the playoffs.

    “thoroughbred”

    • nunacanadien says:

      No Price played hurt and Eller was to blame. WTF, did Price forget or did he have a real wardrobe malfunction somewhere below the belt. Either way, Eller should shoulder the blame for hurting our goalie at a bad time.

  13. HABZ24 says:

    Its not the end of the world habs lost by one goal to a good team.a bounce this way or that it could have been different outcome. I knew 5 mins in ohhh ship rash hottt .look out buff.

    GO HABS GO

    • secretdragonfly says:

      ” I knew 5 mins in ohhh ship rash hottt .look out buff.”

      I am very concerned that you may be having a stroke (either that, or you’re typing on a phone).

  14. Bogie Man says:

    A 2-1 hockey game against a team that most would argue is the best in the eastern conference is not something we should be concerned about. If it was not for a very hot goalie this game would have had a different outcome. We needed to captilize on two of the early opportunities we had in the first period. I think we will make the play off’s this year however to think that we will win the stanley cup is hugely ambitous. I think rebuilding is still the state we are in however I feel the team we have now is one step closer to becoming a contending team. We are still in the need of a top 6 forward who can bury the puck, a defencemen that can itimidate and a back up goalie that we can rely on. A simple formula, right?

    • nunacanadien says:

      Well when we concentrate on signing Prust instead of an intimidator, Prust who fights other small tough guys (man that sucks the NHL has an elite group of small tough guys, kinda like midget wresting) Ok, if Molson would stop scouting for midget wrestler/boxers, and stop giving the farm away to the Kaberles, he could actually afford to sign Halak again, and we could win a spot in the playoffs once again. How does that sound. Mind you the habs for some reason seem to target midget fighters, midget centers, midget defense, I’m suprised they have Price in nets, mind you there might be a glut of midget goalies. Hey didn’t Marc Bergevin go on TSN and make an appeal for midget goalies on the one hour reality show? And to answer the quote of Mike Therrien there, hey Mike we are suprised you are a coach for the habs, surpise us please with a nice surprise and encourage Bergevin to stop signing the midget hab circus, you know Crazy Bob;s crazy circus of before?

  15. frontenac1 says:

    Prust should have popped that puke McQuaid when he had the chance.

  16. mrhabby says:

    so many hilarious comments..

  17. habsfan0 says:

    Interesting headline in The Toronto Sun today:

    “Canadiens make Claude Julien look like a genius”

    Hmmm.

    • ont fan says:

      Habs were very entertaining last night. Ran into a hot goaltender who kept them in the game. Habs deserved a better fate. What else is there to say. Next game please.

      • nunacanadien says:

        If Price didn’t get drilled in the nuts he’d have slid over faster for at least one of the goals. Also the booins didn’t even get called for two very obvious too many men on the ice calls.

      • Richrebellion says:

        Rask was hot but it seemed as though the habs just couldn’t finish, they had a bunch of open nets where they just slid the puck wide. Armstrong missed an open net on the feed from Eller early, Boston capitalized on a similar play on krejci’s goal except they were better covered by the habs d on that play. The bounces didn’t go our way but we dominated the bruins in that game. We had way more scoring chances and made rask look better than he was.

    • habsnyc says:

      Well did you expect them to write “Seguin makes Claude Julien look like a genius?”

      Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

    • Bogie Man says:

      Claude Julien was one or two saves away from looking pretty dumb. Claude was leaning on a hot goalie is all.


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