Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Boston puts Montreal outside the looking glass

Date: 19/01/2016
Opponent: Boston
Location: Montreal
Loss: 4-1

Habs Goalie: Condon (L)
Opposition Goalie: Rask (W)

Habs goalscorers: Barberio
Opposition goalscorers: Talbot, Bergeron, Pasternak, Marchand

Play of the game

Down a goal again in this one (a common theme during this bought of amateurism Montreal is currently suffering from) and our last all-star began to shine again.  After receiving the puck in the slot from Desharnais he sold everyone on the shot, especially Rask.  He then slid it over to Barberio who blasted it into the open net.  It tied the game and gave me hope (albeit fleeting) that tonight could be the night.

Dome hockey team

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


Paul Byron

He's playing well with Eller which is more than we can say about most of the players and their linemates tonight.  He had some good chances himself and actually created a few as well.  Most importantly he was dynamite on the penalty kill.

David Desharnais

After falling on Condon for the third goal (bad line change or not, there's never a good reason to be lying on your goaltender) I was tentative to put David in here, but it was his vision that kicked off the play for our only goal and we're trying to promote offence so in he goes.  I thought hard about putting Eller in here instead.

Dale Weise

The first line wasn't very good tonight and Dale did a good job both defensively and getting into the dirty places for some scoring opportunities.


PK Subban - Game Puck

He wasn't perfect.  He got caught a couple of times trying to do too much which led to some quality Boston scoring opportunities.  This is going to happen when one player is relied upon to kick start a team out of the pathetic slump that IS the Montreal Canadiens these days.  He set up the only goal and had some of Montreal's best offensive chances.   

Mark Barberio

Night in, night out, Mark Barberio just quietly does his job.  Tonight was no different save for the one offensive highlight for the Canadiens tonight.  Excellent job to just get the puck on the net for his goal and solid play in his own end.  Maybe this is the guy who should be pairing with Subban on a regular basis to relieve Markov of some minutes.


Mike Condon

Mike made some great saves... just not nearly enough of them.  An 0.870 save percentage is not okay but how can you fault the man for a give away and a tip in by Markov just after he robbed Talbot on breakaway, then Emelin backs into him knocking him off balance for the second goal and Desharnais falls on him for the third.  I'll give Condon a mulligan on this one and when you think about it, who else can we put in here?


At one point in time Markov was our best defensemen.  It wasn't that long ago either.  Markov played a stinker mid December and was relegated to the second pairing, and then the third, and he was all over the place before returning to the top pairing with Subban.  It was a coaching move that baffled me at the time.  Perhaps the coaching staff (Therrien) knew something that we didn't.  Perhaps they saw a decline in Markov's play before it was noticeable to the public and adjusted his play accordingly.  It's possible.  It's also possible that moving Markov was just another one of the moves Therrein likes to make (see last season).  It's possible, no matter how professional Markov is supposed to be, this move disenfranchised him and, despite what Max says to the media, at least one player is no longer buying what the coach is selling.

Alex Galchenyuk was drafted to be the number one centre we've been missing for years.  How Therrien thought that playing wing for three years would help him develop as a legit #1 centre is beyond me.  I thought he was doing well this year in the middle.  He was, on more than one night, our best player let along the best centre and I can't recall too many nights when Desharnais looked the better option.  If you hold any weight to statistics, Galchenyuk was in a positive Corsi all season; that is until Therrien moved him to the wing.  He's been negative ever since.  Other than to prepare Alex for his new role as winger on the Tampa Bay Lightening I can't, for the life of me, see the logic or reason behind this move by Therrien.  It's possible that Alex has given up too.  After all, the player he might be traded for has 3 points in seven AHL games.

On a side note, I'm very pleased John Scott is playing in the all-star game.  I'd hate for the Canadiens, as inadvertent as it may be, to have had a hand in taking this opportunity away from this man.  I'm also pleased to hear that the Canadiens will be auctioning off autographed jerseys to help support Denna Laing.  This girl has a tough road ahead of her with hospitals and rehab centres, modified housing and transportation, and the knowledge that she will never lace up a pair of skates again.  I'm glad to see our club do something for this girl.  You can see the auction on the NHL website.

Yet again Montreal drastically outshot their opponent (39-24) but this game didn't quite have the same feel to as the game against St. Louis.  Despite the shot total the Canadiens far from dominated this game.  Shots from the point, while great with traffic in front of the goal, are fairly useless on a goalie such as Tuukka Rask if there is clear sight between the goalie and the shooter.  It was the latter type of shot that was in abundance tonight.  I know they're in desperation mode but they're going to need to play smarter, more passionate hockey in order to break out of this.  Probably the worst thing, more than having to watch the Canadiens bumble through the last 6 weeks, is knowing that they can actually play better... much better.

If the next 6 weeks are like the last 6 weeks, Montreal will be just 3 points ahead of Columbus for last place in the league.  With that in mind, there could be a silver lining to the bottom coming out of Montreal this season.  Austin Matthews is a 6'0", 198 lbs (at 18) right winger who can also play centre.  As it looks like we're going to need a replacement for Galchenyuk in the near future, this guy seems ready to fit the bill.  He's currently playing for Marc Crawford and the Zurich Lions, opting to go to the  Swiss A League instead of the CHL or NCAA hockey. He's been compared to Toews with how he uses his size to separate the puck from defenders, compared to Eichel with his stickhandling ability and scoring touch with a good two way game too boot.  This kid would almost be worth tanking the season for.  If we're going to stink it up, let's go the whole hog and get this kid.  Still hoping we find a way to get into the playoffs, though, to see if the Price is right this year.



  1. Really you have DD and Weise in your dome... not sure what game I was watching but sitting there I thought Weise should still be sitting recovering from whatever ails him as the only thing he has done since he came back is practice his skating. DD is almost always overmatched at center and should be on the wing and those two has nosedived AG to being alone. People bash Eller but he does a lot of the heavy lifting for whatever line he is on much like Bertuzzi did for Naslund back in the day except he doesn't close as well. I kind of think we should have had only 2 in the dome and left a spot for Carr.

    1. Agree, weise has been god awful. You say he's practicing skating but he's slowed down! Guy has to be injured, I've never seen him so listless.

      Also dumbfounded by the carr demotion... Why?

    2. DD had the vision to see Subban skating into the high slot for our only goal. They way the Habs are playing, any time anyone does something creative offensively and has success with it, he should be rewarded.

      Weise? He didn't play super. I'll concede that maybe Eller should have been in there over him but I try to put in a centre and two wingers. Pacioretty and Gallagher were liabilities in their own zone. Too much to be outweighed by anything they did offensively. The fourth line was terrible. I like Carr but I also liked how Weise kept it simple, got into some of the spots that you need to pay a physical price to get into and was sound defensively. I love Galchenyuk, but not as a winger... not lately anyway. I think the young man is plying like he's given up on this coach and I don't blame him. I have too.

      Players are never 100% when they come back from injury. Not usually anyway. I know Gallagher wasn't. I do hope Carey is though.

      The day we have a debate over who should be in the dome, Desharnais, Weise or Carr it's a sad day indeed.

    3. Indeed, a sorry situation all 'round.

      My favorite polemicist tony marinaro jokes on the radio that dale Weiss thinks he's guy lafleur since his early season scoring streak, no longer throwing around the body, sticking up for teammates, and inexplicably getting precious pp minutes. I don't disagree!