Habs Goalie: Tokarski (L)
Opposition Goalie: Jones (W)
Habs goalscorers: Weise
Too often I see Montreal goaltenders, especially Price, left in for goal after goal after goal when he or the team in front of him simply don’t have it that night. It was refreshing to see Tokarski get some relief from the atrocious defending in front of him late in the second period. Sometimes sitting the goaltender isn’t a reflection on his play (and in this case I don’t think it was) so much as it’s a big shout to wake up the players. Almost immediately after the netminding switch, PK Subban orchestrated a dynamic rush that ended with Dale Weise breaking out of his slump and gave us all hope for what the third period might be (but sadly wasn’t).standings.
Max made a great play late in the game that nearly resulted in a goal, and more importantly, got the puck up fast to allow the Habs to pull their goaltender. He had 4 shots on the night and always causes trouble. Not one of his better nights defensively however.
Is consistently the most dynamic forward for the Canadiens. On more than one occasion he deked around numerous Sharks only to be foiled at the last instant. Unfortunately his points production has not been as consistent, but neither have his linemates (8 different wingers this year).
Tonight it was Dale’s turn to attempt to fill the Gallagher gap. He was getting his nose dirty in the blue paint all night and was rewarded with a late second period marker to break out of his slump.
A dynamic rush late in the second period to set up Dale’s goal and some stellar skating late in the game while searching for that elusive second goal was fun to watch (he’s no Bobby Orr though). His play in his own end, though, not so much. There were other defensemen better in their own zone tonight for sure but none of them can change a game like he can when he wants to.
Alexi kept things relatively simple in his own end tonight (at least someone did) and contributed in most areas of the game. Kept the puck in effectively on several occasions to allow the forwards to maintain pressure, covered well in his own zone, especially considering Petry was off tonight (who wasn’t), and made an excellent sliding poke check on a two on one in the second period.
Mike Condon - Game Puck
Honestly, no one else even came close to getting this tonight. While Mike played less than half a game he did, yet again, what we come to expect from our interim starting goaltender, and that’s give the blue, white, and red a chance to win.
CommentsTonight our best offensive players were our worst defensively. I was of two minds, reword those who were defensively sound but were robotic, unimaginative, and uncreative up front, or those who were dynamic and skillful in the offensive zone but were doing impressions of downhill ski markers their side of the blue line. You can see where I went with it but I think our dome team would be in trouble tonight either way.
I have to say, Michel Therrien has me baffled. I absolutely hated last season the way he shuffled lines continually. I had hoped he had dropped that habit this season but it seems the line shuffling is back, at least for the holidays. Alex Galchenyuk is a talented player and will be a very good centerman. He’s pretty good now. As soon as Semin was taken off his line he exploded for points during the next two weeks. The fact that just about every game he does something brilliant and was having success with Semin off his line would have given me motivation to keep his line stable for a while. Learn how to play with them and see if he can get his timing down. Eight different wingers by December is a bit excessive. I don’t know what Therrien is trying to do with him. I’m not sure Therrien knows either but I think the young man would benefit from a little stability now that the dead weight (Semin) has been dropped.
Markov did not look to be himself tonight. He looked sluggish and lacked energy. Maybe he was under the weather, which would explain Therrien putting him on the third defensive pairing. Maybe. Or maybe he was put on the third pair for no other reason than Therrien likes to mix things up. Andrei Markov on the third pair? Alienating a veteran all-star defensemen who regularly wears a letter by putting him on the third pair doesn’t seem to me to be a sound coaching strategy. If Markov was a major factor in their recent slide then maybe, but since I’ve seen them play over the last little while and, in my opinion, Markov is not the only factor (if he's really a factor at all) in their slide, I am baffled by this move as well.
Tonight boiled down to quality over quantity. Montreal again out shot their opponent and again were on the short end of the score sheet. Many of Montreal’s shots were from bad angles or from scrambles in front of the net with San Jose defenders hanging off of them (a referee who keeps his whistle in his pocket never favours Montreal but this is an obstacle that they’ll have to overcome in order to win the Cup). San Jose, on the other hand, were gifted two, two on ones by the Montreal defense that resulted in two of their goals.
This trend has been more noticeable since the departure of Price. Is it something new? Is this due to changes in the way the team plays? Maybe it’s due to the line juggling? Maybe unrest in the locker room? Maybe this has been there all along and Price has been covering it up? Either way, it’s miscues like these that will lose games and a series in the playoffs. We’ve got very good players on this club this year, some great. Let’s hope coach Therrien can right the ship and get back to where we were in October (with steady lines) moving into the New Year. Still third in the league though and the President's Trophy is not the Stanley Cup.