Your Montreal Canadiens got a point they probably didn’t deserve.
Saku Koivu got a warm and well-deserved reception from fans who displayed their class.
On to Philadelphia for a measuring-stick game.
Are you confident about these guys being able to beat the Flyers?
Too much of last night’s game was too much like what we’ve seen too often this season: the Canadiens shooting ineffectually from the perimeter against a goaltender who can stop everything he sees.
And at the other end of the ice, opponents taking advantage of some soft Canadiens’ D to crowd Carey Price.
Want to feel good about an aspect of the game? How about the power play?
I’m going to steal some stats from my friend Arpon Basu, who covers the Canadiens for nhl.com:
” … the power over the last 11 games has gone a
whopping 12-for-39, a 30.7 per cent success rate. After starting the
year on a 3-for-47 run in the first 14 games, the Canadiens have climbed
to a tie for eighth in the NHL on the power play by going 46-for-123
over the past 35 games, a whopping 37.4 per cent efficiency rate.”
(Apologies for the technical glitch that turns the rest of this into one long paragraph.)
Basu is one of my neighbours in the Bell Centre pressbox. Before the game began last night, we were talking about Lars Eller, a player we both like a lot.
With Eller putting in impressive performances on the Tomas Plekanec line, Basu foresaw an interesting scenario when Mike Cammalleri returns: dropping Andrei Kostitsyn down to the third line to play with David Desharnais and Pouliot. AK46 would replace Mathieu Darche, an exemplary, non-stop-motor hockey player, but not a scorer.
That may still come to pass. But last night, Eller’s defensive lacune – he got back late in coverage on Bobby Ryan’s goal late in the second period – won him a seat on the bench for the third period. And Darche, playing with Pleks and AK46, scored the late goal that made it 3-2 and set up that crazy finish to regulation time.
The Jacques Martin haters doubtless will strike up a chorus of how the crusty old coach is ruining Eller because he’s not good with young players, yada-yada-yada.
I don’t think it’s going to play out that way. In addition to size, speed and surprising grit, Eller is a very bright kid who is seeing this season as a learning experience. It will take time.
Eller may not immediately turn into the star P.K. Subban has become since Martin’s dastardly attempt to “ruin” him. But he’s going to be a very good hockey player. Along with Benoit Pouliot, David Desharnais and maybe AK46, Eller is a 20something forward who’s going to give the Bell Centre much to cheer about as Saku Koivu fades farther into distant memory.
Topic for discussion today as we await the football games: Should Pierre Gauthier trade for another defenceman?
Yannick Weber wasn’t very good on Ryan’s goal. And even though Corey Perry scored on an Anaheim PP, Roman Hamrlik didn’t do much to prevent it.
I’m going to reserve judgement on the defence corps until after Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia. The Flyers will test the six Dmen we saw last night (unless Alexandre Picard draws in for Weber), and I’ll be particularly interested in how P.K. and Wiz fare in the Wells Fargo Center pressure cooker.
• • •
Jonas Hiller’s win last night gave him 24 and tied Carey Price for the league lead.
One area in which Hiller is number one: goalie masks.
LOVE the basic black. No goaltending immortals.
No pop stars. No pagan deities or pictures of his kids. Black. Makes Hiller look like some sort of Stan Lee super hero.
• • •
Guest Comment from PeterD:
Our Older D are starting to show their age and cracks…I still believe we need to add one more large younger stud D-man to solidify our D-core…But it sure would be nice to have at least one goal finisher like a Ryan or Perry. I am loving Patches…what a warrior to come back after the bruised ribs and play like he has these past two games…but we need at least one more warrior his size in our top 6. With a butt load of confidence I think Pouliot could be that guy…man I love how he skates, stickhandles and his wrist shot is powerful…with the right amount of confidence in his own self and a good Center man and winger he could be out next and long awaited 50 goal scorer, but only if he gets his confidence up and get it to stay up. Of course we would need a coach that would give him the latitude and playing time to keep scoring consistently, probably just dreaming though about all of that.