I’m no conspiracy theorist, but you have to wonder when a referee named “Markus Vinnerborg” works a game involving the Detroit Red Wings …
Yes, the Canadiens played with appalling lack of discipline in the first period.
Mike Cammalleri’s penalty epitomized the kind of selfish play that has me wondering whether Cammy is dealing with a bad case of PMS – P(lekanec) M(issed) S(orely).
But no call when Brian Rafalski nearly took Tomas Plekanec’s knee out?
Five consecutive minors called on the Canadiens before Jonathan Ericsson took Detroit’s only penalty of the game?
No calls in against the Wings in the third, even though the Canadiens were outshooting the Wings 19-3 and were being smacked to the ice and held in front of Jimmy Howard?
Unlike his predecessor (and current l’Antichambre star), Jacques Martin doesn’t abuse officials. He’s smart enough to realize it’s a mug’s game.
But the kindly old coach didn’t like a late no-call when Travis Moen was held, and he let the refs know it.
And after the game, Martin said his team played Detroit even 5-on-5.
But let’s be honest: A very talented team – arguably the best in the league when they’re on their game – played 40 great minutes and won the game.
And 29 games into their season, the Canadiens became the last team in the league to give up more than three goals in regulation time .. and it took an empty-netter to do it.
The turning point: AK46 misses an open net, and Pavel Datsyuk goes shelf to make it 3-1.
The earlier turning point: Josh Gorges tries to freeze the puck, killing a 5-on-3. But the Wings pop it free, and a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer makes it 1-1 with less than a second left in the first period.
On L’Antichambre, Tony Marinaro said the game proved the Canadiens’ greatest need is a replacement for Andrei Markov, as opposed to a Top Six forward.
They need both.
The old Czechs each played more than 22 minutes against a speedy, slick-passing team. Granted, the Canadiens don’t face Detroit – or anyone that good – every night. But the absence of Markov’s ToI will hurt more as the season progresses.
Up front, the usual suspects played their hearts out: Pleks, Benoit Pouliot (what a goal!), the rapidly-emerging Lars Eller. But AK46 took the night off, and it becomes increasingly obvious the team needs another finisher, preferably with size.
There’s time to work that out.
If the Canadiens could duplicate their third-period effort for 60 minutes …
But factor in Detroit sitting on what looked like a safe lead.
Still, the team never quit.
As I wrote on the game blog, this season is proving the CH stands for CHaracter.
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P.K. is back.
Subban played almost 20 minutes, and his speed and puckhandling skills were a big part of the third-period comeback.
He’ll be in the lineup against Toronto.
But Carey Price, spectacular against a 29-shot bombardment through the first two periods, may get a rest to give Alex Auld some work.
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Jeff Halpern was plus-2 and did yeoman service in replacing Scott Gomez.
It’s a deceptive stat, though.
Maxim Lapierre was minus-2, and I thought he played a helluva no-quit game.
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Loved Lars Eller.
Always do, and he had a great game against his fellow Scandinavians. (Is Denmark in Scandinavia?)
But 2-7 on faceoffs wasn’t great.
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Nicklas Lidstrom: 40 years old, played 25:16, scored a goal, blocked three shots.
And how many players in the league can go backhand shelf to score like Pavel Datsyuk.
Man, that’s a good team.
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