No mystery to it.
The more desperate team won.
And let’s hope we see some level of home-team desperation at the Bell Centre Thursday night, because it would ill behoove the Canadiens to be facing elimination in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden.
Tuesday night at MSG, the home team just wanted it more.
The Rangers dominated most statistical categories, and the one-goal margin of victory is deceptive.
As it was, the Canadiens withstood extended periods of Rangers domination in their own end without surrendering any goals.
They lost because of turnovers.
Andrei Markov – who NEVER makes a mistake – coughed one up to Jesper Fast, who got the home team on the board and brought the crowd to life.
Then, after Torrey Mitchell converted a perfect feed from Shea Weber to tie it at 1-1 late in the firs period, Rick Nash took advantage of chaos in the Canadiens’ zone – and poor effort by the Canadiens’ Captain – to steer the winning goal through Carey Price’s legs.
The Canadiens made it exciting.
After being bottled up for most of the third period, the trailing team generated pressure with an extra attacker. Weber clanged one off the post past Henrik Lundqvist, but the surge was too little, too late.
Claude Julien, in his postgame press conference telecast on RDS, described the Canadiens’ second period as “a real poor outing”.
“The second period hurt us,” the coach added. “We didn’t play well.”
The middle period began with the Canadiens on a power play. They failed to get a single shot on Lundqvist.
Shortly thereafter, Julien juggled his lines. Andrew Shaw moved up with Phillip Danault and Max Pacioretty. Alexander Radulov played with Alex Galchenyuk and Arthur Lehkonen.
The first line didn’t generate much. Pacioretty was particularly invisible.
The rejigged second line had some chances, and perhaps we’ll see them together in Game 5.
“Some nights you get some breaks, some nights you don’t,” Julien said. “We need to be better. They were a better team than they were the other night, and we weren’t as good.”
Credit the Rangers for a terrific effort in all three zones. They outshot and outhit the Canadiens, who spent extended periods pinned in their own end.
In his press conference, Alain Vigneault pinpointed his team’s smarter puck placement on dump-ins. Don’t put it near Carey Price, and make the defencemen deal with an aggressive forecheck.
The pressure wore the D down.
A telling stat: Markov’s turnover on the Fast goal was one of his FIVE cough-ups.
Again, it was not a great game for the Canadiens’ blue line corps. The Antichambre guys dumped all over Brandon Davidson, but I thought it was Beaulieu, his D partner, who struggled.
Let’s hope Alexei Emelin has been frequenting St. Joseph’s Oratory.
• • •
Comment on the Liveblog by Woodzie:
Great to see Max Pac playing at his usual playoff pace… gliding, lazy and completely ineffective. If he manages to get the puck an inch over the blueline, the Rangers never take that 2-1 lead. The second he failed to get it out, I knew NY was scoring. I’d have no problem seeing the Captain and King sit next game.
And from dickanddanny:
This may sound cliché but tonight the Habs really never got one bounce. Absolutely no luck tonight.
Examples; Shaw’s break-away attempt was an inch higher it was a goal, Gallagher’s deflection from in the crease from Plekanec pass that just dies instead of deflecting in, Galchenyuk shot from the slot that beats Lundquist 5 hole, but the puck trickles wide, and then of course there was Weber’s cannon off the post clearly beating Lundquist with just about a minute left in the game.
Rangers got two flukey goals on lucky bounces off of bad clearing attempts by our D.
Next game the LUCK will be on the Habs side.