On L’Antichambre, Guy Carbonneau is praising Mathieu Darche and talking about the Canadiens’ response to adversity.
Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, Mike Cammalleri: all out.
Alex Auld: in.
Trailing after one period, and looking slow and outclased in the talent department.
But your Montreal Canadiens don’t quit.
For the fifth game in a row, the Comeback Canadiens erased a deficit.
And while Gaston Therrien, wearing a shirt he borrowed from Prince, breaks down the Rangers’ goal – and highlights P.K. Subban’s screw-up – I’ll dwell on some positives:
• Benoit Pouliot is playing like the guy who was drafted one spot ahead of Carey Price: six shots, the winning goal, two hits and a charge into Henrik Lundqvist’s kitchen on the goal that put the Canadiens back into the game. Plus hustle to save icing. And Benny is shining with with a variety of linemates. Is he finally emerging as a Top Six player? God knows, they need one.
• Jaro Spacek scored a goal and saved a couple.
• Max Pacioretty had four SoG and four thunderous hits.
• Scott Gomez went 10-3 on faceoffs and played excellent hockey in a building he likes.
• The PK hasn’t given up a goal since the OT loss to Atlanta.
• The Wiz had four SoG, four blocked shots and few glaring defensive errors.
• P.K. should have pressured Brandon Dubinsky on the Rangers’ goal. but he played 22:12 – second only to Hal Gills’s 22:44 among defencemen.
But you know who had a really great game?
The coach won his gamble with Auld. He shuffled his forward lines and shortened his bench to positive effect, rewarding the hard work of Benny and Darche by playing them with the team’s most talented centre.
And, most importantly, the coach whom everyone knocks for being boring and stodgy continues to transmit that tranquillity to a team that doesn’t panic when undermanned and trailing.
Another thing: the much-maligned Martin system has restricted opponents to fewer than 30 shots in Alex Auld’s last three starts.
It wasn’t all skittles and beer.
• Yannick Weber struggles against aggressive forechecking … and John Tortorella teams check aggressively.
• David Desharnais played 8:46 – lowest ToI since his recall.
• Lars Eller was ineffective on Plekanec’s wing, took an O-zone penalty early, played five shifts in the first period, three in the second and none in the third.
Should the kid be in Hamilton?
Tony Marinaro thinks so.
The Great Antonio says Eller is in Montreal for one reason only: to make the Jaro Halak trade look good.
Well, that isn’t happening.
Besides, Carey Price’s brilliance has silenced most of the second guessing on shipping Halak out of town.
Eller has size, speed and talent – none of which will develop playing six minutes a night in The Show.
While the Canadiens try to get out of NYC in a snowstorm, the Penguins are chilling in Montreal.