Habs Goalie: Price (L), Budaj
Opposition Goalie: Lundqvist, (W)
Habs goalscorers: Bourque, Eller
Opposition goalscorers: St. Louis, Zuccarello Kreider, Richards, McDonagh, Stepan, Nash
Take what you can get in a game like this. Lars Eller's goal in the closing stages was a beautiful goal, in a different context, purely heroic. It demonstrates that it will take hard work and second, third efforts to beat a coordinated defence, but that even the Rangers aren't immune to being broken.
Lars Eller - Game PuckTwo points, a beautiful goal and a +1 in such a game is almost a miracle. Eller continued to play like a new man as another round of the playoffs opened. It's almost a lone beacon after this debacle.
Rene BourqueHis goal was good and his penalties were affronts to anyone who had to watch a Bruins game with one call. If Bourque's going to find more space again, that will help the Habs. I would have him on the PP for a while, if any are ever given again...
Dale WeiseDale played OK, was a net positive player and wasn't on for a horrible breakaway goal against. Taking Briere from his side hurt the threat he can provide. But perhaps the return of Galchenyuk can provide a remedy to that.
Nathan BeaulieuThis is no time to be afraid of using a player. Beaulieu isn't as predictable as the other 5 guys, but that might actually be the ticket for the Habs. He created a very good scoring chance and looked confident in his own abilities in his zone. It is speed that lacked on defence and his could have been used more.
Mike WeaverIn a 7-2 loss, the most impactful play may have been an innocuous enough looking hit to Derrick Brassard. On the surface, he may not look too important a player, but Brassard just played a large part in getting the Rangers past their shutout paved road to elimination. I can't cay I even noticed the hit at the time. On replay, it could be seen as a bit late. certainly a bit hard given how far the puck had moved on. Dirty? Not sure. I wouldn't condone these tactics, but I'd be surprised if this was part of a plan. Besides the hit, Weaver was decent enough. I don't fault him for being on for goals when the team had checked out.
Carey PriceGosh, both goalies were bad at times. Budaj looked rusty as anything though. The nod goes to Price for at least making a game of it until late in the second. The real goalie question is health now, and it seems we must await for the curtain to be lifted to know what will be the move for sure.
CommentsA funny game. If you don't read a report on this game in the future, you may be inclined to think total domination by the Rangers throughout. It hardly seemed that way for the watching. On my score card, the Canadiens were easily winning the second until their breakdowns and were close to tying the game. It was because they were made to chase that the wheels fell off. The first period was one to forget. The Rangers goals, however, may have been once in a lifetime for some of the players involved. We didn't even see Lemieux and Gretzky pour in repeated behind the legs pass goals against weak opposition in the day. as for the third, it is what it is. The Habs left discipline behind and paid at an unusual rate for it.
At the end of the day, the rate of scoring matters not. This will be a single win for the Rangers. In fact, if I had been their coach, I'm not sure I'd have encouraged the team to lay it at 5-1. Playoff rethinks from a lazy opponent are not high on the wish list.
The Canadiens do need a rethink. This is a new opponent and their recent game was geared to the Bruins, who played very differently. These Rangers are not so dissimilar in style to the Lightning (at least in plans drawn up), so at least a vague plan must exist in Therrien's notes.
You will note the lack of any skaters that figure into the major plans of the Canadiens. This itself is a big problem, as even two-goal deficits, such as that dug in the first require big efforts form big players to overcome. Pacioretty, Plekanec, Vanek, Markov, Subban all needed to bring more to the table at the key times in this one. I didn't feel they did. I don't think that is necessarily a signal that they will be incapable f doing so ever again.
In my honest opinion, I think a game like this was necessary for the Habs if they are to go the ultimate distance. The Bruins were seldom punishing the team for its mistakes and there became an accumulation.to exploit. The fact the Rangers exploited almost every largesse will hammer the point even harder, and really only at the cost of a 3-2 loss. I think it's glad they let it all out in one game, a lasting reminder of key challenges.
I suppose the injury story here is also important. The Canadiens need Price. Do the Rangers need Brassard? Not sure, but he seemed to be a big help to them recently.
A new day, a new game and a new result is around the corner.