I’m sorry, folks.
That Gomez play, given the situation, was brain-dead and brutal. And to his credit, Gomez admitted it.
Yes, Tyler Myers mugged Lars Eller about six times in the Buffalo end. But it’s a 1-1 game, Eller retains possession, doesn’t embellish and that’s life in the NHL.
Back in the other end, Gomez – who has already gone off for coincident roughing with Nathan “Little Beaver” Gerbe – gets the butt end of his stick up in the wee Buffalo forward’s face.
Gomez is a hot-head. How many times have we seen him retaliate?
Gerbe sells it.
They call it.
The ensuing power play could have cost the Canadiens a point.
It didn’t because Tomas Plekanec played a brilliant puck-holding shift on the penalty-kill.
Note also that Pleks’ heroism came after losing D-zone faceoffs to Paul Gaustad, who was 14-6 on draws.
Gomez was indisposed for D-zone draws. And ace faceoff man Jeff Halpern was unavailable because he was either hurt or ill. Halpern returned to the bench, but played only a couple short PK shifts … and none late in the game or in the OT that Jason Pominville ended.
Playing the second game in two nights with nine usable forwards, the Canadiens escaped Buffalo with a valuable point.
Carey Price said it felt almost like a win. Given the manpower situation, it might have been the gutsiest effort of the season.
But looking ahead, intestinal fortitude might not be enough.
Michael Cammalleri probably has a separated shoulder. Gone two weeks, minimum.
Max Pacioretty, one of the few forwards on the team who goes to the net, was in the right place at the wrong time when James Wisniewski uncorked a vintage Sheldon Souray/MAB laser from the blueline.
TV kept showing Pacioretty being wheeled out on a stretcher, with an IV drip. The report is a rib injury, with hospitalization to check for internal damage.
We’ll know more tomorrow … and the Canadiens will make an announcement in the fullness of time.
But I can’t see Max-Pac being available in Ottawa on Friday or for the Saku Koivu/Max Lapierre Gala Homecoming on Saturday.
Andrei Kostitsyn took Cammalleri’s spot with Plekanec and Eller. That might be a viable Band-Aid solution if – and it’s a big if – AK46 can regain Top Six form.
Max-Pac’s spot with Gomez and Brian Gionta was filled by Mathieu Darche in Buffalo. That’s not going to work.
See above: Kostitsyn, Andrei.
So you be the general manager:
Michel Bergeron, on L’Antichambre, said Pierre Gauthier has to make a move. A team that can’t score has lost a sniper. Cammalleri is irreplaceable, Bergeron said, by anyone in Hamilton.
Not as big as Pacioretty, nor as fast. But on the evidence of a great training camp, White is a willing warrior. So maybe he’s the call-up.
After that, it gets thin.
Dustin Boyd? Please.
At least the D got through the game intact.
P.K. Subban played another brilliant game in his 24-plus minutes. The sequence in which he and Carey Price patted each other while the play was going on will make many highlight reels.
Yannick Weber, of all people, led the Canadiens with four blocked shots. He’s getting better, more reliable.
Carey Price lost his goaltending showdown with Ryan Miller. But Price made 37 saves (to Miller’s 29) and had no chance on the winning goal.
The Canadiens salvaged a point because Buffalo is a lousy team.
Lose two Top Six forwards plus a penalty-killing specialist and see what happens against Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston … it’s a long list.
Against the Sabres, a three-line team managed a 1-1 tie in regulation.
And but for Gomez’s irrationalism …