Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Game #61

Habs Dismantled At Home, Again

Details


Date: 21/02/2012
Opponent: Stars
Location: Montreal

Loss 0-3

Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Lehtonen (W)

Habs goalscorers: None
Opposition goalscorers: Garbutt, Ribeiro, Wandell



Play of the game

The best non-goal for the home team. Bourque stretched a play down the left wing accompanied by Emelin and Gomez. The pass came and Emelin, who did well just to be there did even better to make a dummy and allow the pass to reach Gomez. Gomez shot nearly right away on a ready Lehtonen.



Dome hockey team


The 6 players we're playing in a no changes, do or die contest in the dome

Forwards

Rene Bourque
Hit the cross bar, made that pass (probably hoped Gomez wouldn't be the shooter) and looked threatening on a few occasions. It's a sorry story for a team that claims to be vying for the playoffs that a) this represents one of the best efforts in a late season game and b) represents one of their top 6 forward's best games of the season in the uniform.

Erik Cole
He looked one of the best forwards again. But the season must be wearing on him too, as his moments of threat were less so than we've be used to in the past. Perhaps sick himself, and allegedly playing with ailing players, he at least has an excuse I can swallow.

Max Pacioretty
I guess it has to be Max. He had 4 shots, apparently, and 5 not so memorable hits, so that's something. Really he was as guilty as all the rest of allowing Dallas to defend exactly the way they wanted to.


Defencemen

PK Subban - Game Puck
I liked Subban's game better than most. He was on for the Ribeiro goal, but he had his man covered, and can rightly be upset with his teammates on the play. Overall, he was sound in his coverage of his assignments and played a big role in keeping the anemic home team's hopes alive for as long as they were. He also looked better than he has in the past on the PP. Maybe one day the Habs can look forward to a goal from the point.

Alexei Emelin
The Russian rookie is making his presence felt more and more with each passing shift. This game was not marked with highlight hits. Instead, I noted some more good breakouts and contributions to attempts to break the team's duck.


Goaltender

Carey Price
One can't blame Price for the loss. I could do without another bad goal on what was an unnecessary giveaway. Let's be honest though, better that happens on goal #3 in a game with no other signs of life than a future, potentially meaningful game.


Comments

This was a truly sad effort. Every team that was in a position similar to the Canadiens tonight did better than them. It starts, of course with Dallas. For all to see was another team in a playoff hunt outcompeting their rivals at every position on the ice. All teams apart from the Islanders that matter in the Eastern race also gathered points, and even the Isles made a contest of their game.

It is sometimes nice to fall back on the saying: "it was not for lack of effort". This game was lost because of a comprehensive lack of effort, however. The team came out happy to concede many shots, many chances and with a willingness to drop behind a goal. Given the knowledge that they were without many of their best elements, and were relying on players who have been most often disappointing in generating offense, the strategy must have seemed misguided, even to them. There were a few good chances, but scarcely a great one, and really the Habs could only claim to be pacing Dallas after that first goal, never dominating.

The realization of what it means to watch a bad team is dawning on me now. This team is not an unlucky bunch that deserved a better fate. No, they are one of a number of teams that is good at a few things (ultimately too few) in a fairly well balanced league. They are below average, or bad if you will. If the Habs were in the West, given the defending we have seen on display from the more disciplined teams out there, they might even be giving Columbus a real run for Nail, in my opinion. They're closer to Columbus than to Boston.

So they're bad. He's having a mood swing. Does this mean I have given up on playoffs? Strangely no.

Though I have no illusions of experiencing playoff elation, I am still of the opinion that there will be a couple of pretty bad teams in the playoffs this season. The redeeming feature of this Habs team remains the fact that they are not that different to Toronto, Florida, Winnipeg, Tampa and others who stand real chances of participation.

With the trade deadline coming up, one has to think that the next game will decide a lot. Another loss, particularly one lacking feeling, will be a nail in many coffins, alas unlikely now a Nail in the draft. The worst kind of end to the season is looming. Let's hope we find some enjoyment yet.

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