Location: New York City
Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Lundqvist(W)
Habs goalscorers: Bourque
Opposition goalscorers: Gaborik, Richards, Del Zotto (2)
A game that was not friendly to the aficionado of slick on-ice style made for tough choices. A rare moment of defensive expertise caught my attention early and was never surpassed. Richards breaking in one-on-one with Emelin had us all thinking test for Carey. Emelin sorted it out, though. Simple stride for stride coverage leading Richards into the corner shotless to be dumped onto the ground. He came away with a puck. Emelin will make this team next season, and will do much to help us forget the foolhardy trade for a centre in 2009.
In a game where looking lively is enough, Desharnais is a forward for the dome. I still like that despite his obvious difficulties with hulking defenders, he finds chances each and every game. His two were the best before the goal and he set others up for some that went asking.
He waited very late to make the most significant (and nearly only) contribution to Habs offense on the night. It was advertised that only he had scored in the Canadiens previous 4 road games. Fitting then that he made the only goal that even Rene Bourque wouldn't miss.
Begrudgingly Bourque. I disliked much of what he did, but in that he was amongst many peers. If we have to watch him for more than a few games (and I suppose we do) then I hope he at least stands in front to receive Plekanec's passes and shaves his Lottery Lip Tab.
Frederic St. Denis
He's proving that defense is lower on the new GM's list of worries than forwards are. At 7th/8th/whatever he is on the depth chart, he provides a competent replacement for NHL play. The fact he played 19 uneventful minutes and ended +1 is a good sign. He was on for the Price squeaker to further degrade the PK average, otherwise a good enough night.
PK Subban - Game Puck
The better Subban on the night (which is saying a lot these days). I thought PK once again showed more than any other Canadiens player. I look forward to a time when his cool control and timely blocks mean something once again. Even his shot seems to be getting more dangerous as the year wears on.
Carey not making a dome has been a rare thing this season. In fact, when we wanted good dome-worthy performances there were very few slips. So fitting then that he is also delivering a weak night just when the Habs need weak nights in the standings. 4 goals on 29 shots raises questions any time. When a couple of the goals never would have happened against a focused goalie, the questions receive this answer. Strangely, he was also only a hair away from the game puck, as his saves (and there were many) were rare bright points for a checked out squad in this game too.
Last game, there was some debate over whether players could lose games on purpose. I tend to agree that it's unnatural. But if they could, this is what it would look like. The Canadiens really did nothing to challenge the Rangers net until time was safe, and who knows what they might have done to facilitate goals against had lax coverage not provided for them.
With 4 games to go, it really is critical at this stage that each keeps his eye on this lottery ball. 4 wins would serve no one at all. Each player has enough question marks already that a finishing flourish will not erase, and the majority will be well served by that slightly readier and more skilled apprentice.
This game was interesting for those who do look to the future. One can see a future for the Canadiens, for instance, in the Rangers. Price has not matched Lundqvist's strongest yet, but emulates his style in general. The Canadiens defence is young, learning, mobile and likely capable of delivering what the Rangers kids do and more. What remains to be seen is if the Habs are to be as bold as the Rangers. That team recognized its internal deficiencies and served to cancel them by bumping each and every forward down two notches in depth with free agent signings. These were not Cole/Gionta variety moves, but big, bold actions to obtain established superstars. Unless the Habs do this. Until the Habs do this. The Habs forwards may continue to toil as they have this season.
See you tomorrow. Go Caps?