Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Fleury (W)
Habs goalscorers: Plekanec, Desharnais
Opposition goalscorers: Goligoski (2), Kennedy, Staal, Letang
When the game was still within reach Price made a very good save on Malkin. It was the type of goal that you would expect a superstar to score which made the save even better. Malkin was uncovered on Price's left and received a great pass. The next step was to put it into the open net, but with a quick slide over Carey denied him that privilege.
Scoring on a tip-in isn't normally enough for recognition, but on a bad night like tonight when that goal happens to be your first ever you get cut some slack. He wasn't bad the rest of the way, but aside from that goal I don't remember much, good or bad.
I noticed quite a few good moments and no real bad ones from Jeff tonight. It is becoming more unclear with each shift what his role is, but at least he is taking it all in his stride. Obviously the PK is to forget, but I was happy with his 83% face-off winning percentage.
Tomas Plekanec - Game Puck
I felt that Tom was the only player who actually played well tonight. Had his teammates followed then we probably would have won. He scored a nice goal (a quick answer to the Pens' first) and also did well in the face-off circle. As I suggested last night Darche is a band-aid and I think, even though it may hurt sometimes, Pleks needs regular linemates that remain as his linemates for more than 6 minutes at a time.
With the most attempted shots on the team and no major miscues (eh Hammer, Spacek, Wis and Subban?) Weber gets the nod. He, for the most part, stayed out of trouble in his own end and wasn't on the ice for any of Pittsburgh's goal (not his fault that he doesn't play on the PK).
5:38 of PK time and no goals were scored while he was on. Not bad considering that the Habs let in 4. His beer-league like offence and shot were noticed tonight, but at least that meant he was involved. As usual, though, his strong defensive and PK play earned him this dome..
Carey has to be better than that. It is unfortunate that there were so many PPs, but 4 PP goals against in a 27-minute stretch will kill you every single time. At least two goals were soft and were goals that we all know he can save (defensive miscue or not). His puckhandling was again bad and actually directly led to the insignificant 5th goal. A night to forget, for sure, as it was Fleury doing the super-lame pose tonight, six nights after Price made a bit of a fool of himself crossing his arms against the Pens.
After the first period the game was tied, but more significantly we had 2 PPs and they had had none. Now, to a regular observer of sport there is no real problem with this, but with an NHL coach there is. That is because the NHL is meant to hand-out penalties at an even rate and is supposed to allow all teams an equal chance on the PP. So after the first Bylsma had a long chat with the refs (to no doubt complain about this). I, by the way, am not making this up as Pierre Houde commented on it at the start of the 2nd. Well, they always say that arguing will get you nowhere, but I know from playing, coaching and reffing that that is bull. Yes, a ref will never change his mind (the rules simply don't allow for it), but he can certainly change the way he calls the rest of the game. So, an argument is generally worth it. We'll never know what was said and what the ref was thinking, but if a ref (french ref to boot; Justin St. Pierre) wants to prove to the visitors that he is unbiased and that he isn't calling in favour of his boyhood team then he may just start to see things a bit differently. In fact, the best way to prove that you aren't punishing one team unfairly is to punish the other team (unfairly).
What followed after Bylsma made his point were 6 calls against the Habs and none against the Pens. Now, everything, as usual, was a callable offense, but these were calls that don't usually get called and were things no worse (for the most part) than what Pittsburgh was doing. The refs, therefore, haven't not called a penalty correctly (so they are safe some review time), they just have failed to be consistent (surprise, surprise) and have used their 'discretion' differently than they usually do. So, well done Bylsma you got what you wanted and did exactly what I would have done or what I wish we would do more often. Arguing a call is the best way to get the next call. It may not always pay off, but if you can get 6 PPs to the opposition's 0 then you may just end that losing streak. To the refs: I thought that you didn't like effecting the outcome? I thought that a slash was a slash was a slash? Sure Pouliot slashed a Pen, but did you even notice the bigger 2-handed retaliation?
Every night in the NHL is a joke so it is a shock that any night stands out, but tonight does. It really makes you wonder why we all tolerate our favourite game being played and officiated like this? If it weren't for the Habs retaining my devotion to hockey I don't know if I could tolerate this farce as much as I do.