About last night … Canadiens edge Coyotes 5-4 in OT

PriceArizona

Has there been a bigger goal this season than Alex Galchenyuk’s Overtime winner in Arizona?

Don’t think so.

The Canadiens rode a season-worst four-game losing streak into Gila River Arena Thursday night.

Facing the 29th best team in the NHL, they contrived to blow 2-0 and 4-3 leads before Galchenyuk’s OT heroics. 

Had the Canadiens lost the game, it would have been a LONG plane ride home. And they’d have landed in a city wallowing in the depths of hockey-indices depression.

That grim scenario was averted because all the Canadiens played a solid game against mighty Arizona.

Well, all the Canadiens except one.

Montreal fans will not be grimly contemplating a five-game losing streak on Friday.

They will, however, be wondering what the heck is wrong with Carey Price.

The erstwhile All-World goaltender gave up four goals on only 24 shots in Arizona.

Price was brutal on two of them:

• Max Domi’s loose-puck tap-in that needed a video review to count.

• Even worse, the Alex Goligoski shorthanded goal on which Price was facing completely away from the onrushing Arizona defenceman. Max Pacioretty’s backchecking on Goligoski was less than stellar … but still.

Price headed into the game with a perfect career record against the Coyotes: 8-0-0, with a goals-against average of 1.49 and save percentage of .949. 

Contrast those stellar numbers with some recent stats: In five starts on the road heading into Arizona, Price was 0-5-0 with a 3.45 goals-against average and a sieve-like save percentage of .874.

In the immortal words of Marvin Gaye, what’s going on?

Is Price nursing an injury?

Is he distracted by the pitter-patter of little feet Chez Price? That wouldn’t account for the road losses.

Is Price thinking about his next contract? His current deal expires after the 2017-’18 season. 

Regardless of what’s afflicting or annoying the goaltender, Price has to get his spit together if the Canadiens are going to:

a) Make the playoffs, which isn’t an absolute certainty just yet; and 

b) make some noise in the postseason.

After a tough weekend back-to-back against St. Louis at the Bell Centre and the Bruins in Boston, the Canadiens get a five-day break.

Price should be spending a good chunk of that time with Stephane Waite.

OK, enough ragging on the Canadiens’ best and most valuable player.

What about the other 18 guys?

There was a lot to like in the OT win:

• In addition to scoring, Andrei Markov elevated the game of his new D partner, Jeff Petry.

• Superb effort by the top line: Pacioretty’s  27 goals put him third in the league; Alexander Radulov had eight shot attempts and scored a goal that gave the Canadiens a 4-3 lead; Phillip Danault had two assists and won 11 of 21 faceoffs.

• Michael McCarron also won most of his draws: 7 of 11. And the big galoot – with linemates Torrey Mitchell and Daniel Carr – made things happen on every shift.

• Galchenyuk’s goal should help snap the team’s most talented forward …OK, tied with Radulov …out of his recent injury-plagued funk.

 • Sven Andrighetto played well enough to get another start.

And, to the delight of the HIO Commentariat, the Canadiens scored five times with David Desharnais in the pressbox.

On to a tough weekend.

•  •  •

Comment on the Liveblog by Chair Troll:

Ugly win but it can be enough to get into better winning habits. What matters is how they play in the next few games and if steady improvement can be shown. Galchenyuk probably still needs a bit of time to get into true game shape but his OT goal should give the squad a boost. Perhaps Gallagher’s return will also help too. I predict Byron will start heating up again.

Still not seeing what is so great about Shaw to merit the contract that MB gave him. I only notice him when he takes penalties. He and Pleks are some of the most expensive 3rd liners.

And FenceSurfer, this one’s for you:

Therrien

557 Comments

  1. CJinBK says:

    According to TSN, Flynn drew into the lineup in Max’s place.

    #waiveDesharnais

  2. on2ndthought says:

    More on development. I hope we are seeing the ascent of McCarron. He’s played well enough to firmly install himself on our fourth line. Questions remain: will he become a top six?; a third liner?; will he play wing or center? These are questions he will answer with hard work.
    (FWIW, I see him as a tweener; a fine 2nd line RW or 3rd line C in two or three years).

    Scherbak is a different player. Drafted a year later, he dazzled us with his personality; we were tantalized by talk of his offensive prowess. We are seeing why he was available at 26th overall (later than McC, different draft years, of course). If he develops at the same rate as McCarron, he may be ready by next year this time.

    But perhaps there is something to McCarron’s more serious demeanour, something to his measured personality, that accelerated his path to the bigs. Of course, Nikita has had a language barrier; and may actually have more to learn about ‘systems’ hockey as a kid that only spent two years in North America.

    I’m content to wait for Scherbak. If he has what it takes to make it in the NHL, he can learn the system in the AHL, start at the bottom, and work his way up the depth chart. Even the great Auston Matthews centers the third line for TO. We know it won’t be for long, but even franchise players get ‘brought along’.

    Free Front.

  3. ColdComfort says:

    Max didn’t practice this morning as he has a virus. No word on whether he plays. Gallagher practiced. Full contact. Not likely to play until after the bye week. John Lu.

  4. The Eradicator says:

    Some Bruin schadenfreude:

    https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/trending-topics-bruins-issues-have-been-building-for-years-181531411.html

    ———————————————————————–
    ¡Viva Frontenac siempre y para siempre!

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

    • ColdComfort says:

      There has to be twenty teams whose fans wish there were us since MB and MT took over.

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      It is ironic how backup goaltending has hurt the Bruins this year. Difference is MB didn’t make MT pay for his mistake.

    • 24 Cups says:

      Things aren’t always as good or as bad as they seem to be.

      If Boston’s back-up goalies were playing .500, then the Bruins would be tied with Montreal at 70 points. If you flip Montoya for Boston’s trio of back-ups, the Bruins are in 1st place while Montreal would have 60 points which would put them in a real dog fight for a playoff spot.

      I realize it’s not quite that simple but still…

      As for tonight, not having Patches would be a real blow. He’s been our best player in 2017. Montreal has lost 8 of their last 12 games at home. St Louis has won 6 of their last 8 on the road and 4 of 5 since Mike Yeo took over. They have given up 1 goal in their last 3 games, 6 goals in their last 5 games.

      Only a Mike Boone reverse jinx can save us tonight. I’m really starting to dread Feb 25th.

      WWDTD

  5. PK says:

    I have my concerns about MB, starting with his loyalty to MT, trading Subban and Eller, picking up fringe players that don’t pan out.
    (one home run in five years with Rads).

    The Habs “window” is closing fast while (cough, cough) Leafs or Oilers will become contenders in the near future.

    EDIT: my understanding of “the window” revolves around new contracts for:

    Pacioretty
    Price
    Galchenyuk
    Radulov
    (finding a replacement for Markov – timing of Sergachev’s development).

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    “Une équipe de hockey sur glace de l’île de Mont-Royal va gagner la Coupe de Lord Stanley à 24 reprises dans le 20e siècle et trois fois au cours du 21e siècle.”

    – Nostradamus, 1552

    • HUDSONHAB says:

      MBs biggest shortfall is his loyalty to MT. He gets players that fit MTs systems (pluggers, bottom six guys). MT doesn’t know what to do with skilled creative forwards, guys that can produce even when systems break down. MT can not come up with offensive game plans. He only knows how to retreat and hope something springs out of playing defence.

      ….Hab4life….

    • HUDSONHAB says:

      Your understanding of “window” is mostly correct, however I would add one thing to that. When your team is healthy at the trade deadline, and the window is closing, I believe that makes your window close a bit more. How often are you going to have a healthy line up at playoff time? I’d suggest not every year and usually never completely.

      ….Hab4life….

  6. Old Bald Bird says:

    Are Canadiens all in? Is this the time?

    I doubt it. I think there are too many weaknesses to take too big of a chance.

    By all means, make a sensible move to improve the team, but I can’t see that it’s this year or bust.

    I don’t think this team can win with one single move no matter how good the incoming player might be.

    Is this me being a Nellie? Perhaps, but I think I am being realistic.

    • HUDSONHAB says:

      If not now then when? If Max, Rads, Chucky, Price and Weber play like we’ve seen them play. If Pleks, Byron, Lehks, Petry, Emelin and Danault stay steady. If Gally is back and Shaw keeps on the line. We are as close to the SCF as we are going to get. So one good trade, and one depth pickup gives us a chance to take the East. We only have to beat Pitt or Wash after they’ve beat each other up not both.
      I just don’t see a scenario next year where we are healthy and in first place at this time of year. We have to live in the now.

      ….Hab4life….

  7. SmartDog says:

    I’m nervous. Everyone’s talking about making a move.

    MB is good at picking up depth players on the cheap, no question. And after a few unsuccessful Hail Mary signings, Radulov has been a great pick-up. But in terms of real TRADES, I don’t have a lot of faith in the man.

    ————————————-
    Fortune favours the prepared. And teams with good goalies.

  8. HUDSONHAB says:

    So the Leafs and Sens will play two games each during Habs bye week and will still have games in hand at the deadline. Plus we play the Leafs before the deadline. Everything being equal, I don’t see a “Holy crap, we have to make a move” moment coming before deadline day.
    Any injury that may occur is only an excuse to stay the course because that will be their out.
    I’m hoping MB has a plan and just makes that trade sooner rather than later.
    ….Hab4life….

  9. Scottym314 says:

    A couple of things I’d like to see before the Habs get back from their break:
    – a trade to improve the scoring. And I don’t mean Burrows or Hanzal. I mean a bonafide top six scorer. If it takes getting rid of some of our prospects, so be it. The time is now.
    – a trade to get a puck mover who can play with Weber on the top two.
    I know I’m asking a lot, but even if we get one of these wishes, I’d be happy.
    Of course, returning without Empty behind the bench and a new offense first mentality would be icing on the cake.

  10. SmartDog says:

    Sduchene?

    ————————————-
    Fortune favours the prepared. And teams with good goalies.

  11. Strummer says:

    If the Habs acquire Matt Duchene will he be required to insert the “s” in his surname that many of you are doing now?

    -Some folks really have trouble letting go of stuff, eh?-


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