Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Canadiens wrestle title of worst team away from Blue Jackets in spectacular fashion.

Date: 25/01/2016
Opponent: Columbus
Location: Columbus
Loss: 5-2

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

Habs goalscorers: Gallagher, Subban
Opposition goalscorers: Atkinson (3), Saad (2)

Play of the game

It's tough to come up with a play of the game in a game like this.  Gallagher's goal on the power play, while important because it gave us the early lead, was redirected by a defender.  Subban's goal, while it looked nice, was more due to poor goaltending than anything he did.  With a little over seven minutes left in the first period, just as a penalty ended, Eller danced over the blueline, took on a couple of Blue Jackets, and very nearly gave Montreal a two goal lead by ringing one off the post.

Dome hockey team

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


Brendan Gallagher

He did get credit for a goal but despite that get kept digging and got some decent shots on net.

Lars Eller

Easily the best forward on the night.  He's driving to the net like Gallagher used to do and rung one off the post.  Why this man is playing more minutes while the top line slumps is beyond me.

Alex Galchenyuk

Honestly, I got nothing.  The rest of Montreal's forwards were miserable tonight.  Forget about worthless, long distance shots with no screen.  The forwards tonight weren't creating much offensively and weren't adding much help defensively.  Alex is here because we need a third forward and I like how he used to play (and I still think he can play) at centre.


PK Subban - Game Puck

Our best player once again tonight.  A couple of points and solid in his own defensively.  Granted, he took a stupid penalty but that call was a little weak too.   

Andrei Markov

One of his better games in a while.  Sound in his own end.  The same can't be said about the rest of Montreal's defensemen tonight.


Carey Price

Because 0.833 save percentage just isn't good enough and Scrivens is not an NHL goaltender.  I'd take an injured Carey Price over either of them at this point.  As a matter of fact, I'd take Price over both of them in the net at the same time.


This game was awful.  Despite what Bergeron, Therrien, Pacioretty and whoever else says, the players have quit.  When you see veterans like Plekanec showing that kind of body language you know the locker room is not in a good place.  Even Pacioretty has quit.  We need something.  We need anything.  For Therrien to continue with the same game plan, no matter how obvious it is that it isn't working, for Bergevin to tell us that he's behind the coach 100%, for the players to say the same thing is insulting to the fans.  The boobirds are beginning to roost in the Bell Centre and the best Michel Therrien can come up with is to put Flynn out on the powerplay.

Other than the revolving door of AHL players to play on the second and third lines (De La Rose, Carr and Andrighetto) and moving Desharnais up to the second line and sticking Galchenyuk out on the wing, what has Therrien done?  Price getting hurt was a reason to drop out of first place in the East, but it's just an excuse to be where they are.  No point complaining about it.  Our only hope at this point is that Geoff Molson gets irritated enough to put it to Bergevin that either Therrien goes or Marc goes.

Carey might as well take the rest of the season off and rehab properly.  Getting that draft pick will be worth tanking a season for.  He's supposed to be that good.  We just need to hope that the Oilers' horseshoe falls out.
If I were the coach of the Montreal Canadiens, here's what I would do.  I would put Alex Galchenyuk as the number one centre.  As of this minute he's our guy.  He was and still is our best hope at a franchise centre.  We're out of the playoffs now so we might as well use the time to teach this boy what it takes to be a number one centre.  Lars Eller and Brendan Gallagher have each been playing pretty good hockey, even through this stretch.  I'd reunite the EGG line and let them run it out until the end of the year.  I'd drop Plekanec back to a defensive line, maybe with Weise, in charge of shutting down opposing team's top lines.  I'd complete this line with either Fleischmann or Flynn.  Both of these players have skill sets better suited to these roles than trying to get goals out of them.  Desharnais is, at best, the third centre on this team (I'd also have him behind Eller).  I'd drop Pacioretty back with him on the third line, at least for a while.  The pressure of being captain seems to be getting to him so this should help remove some of that.  When Byron returned from injury he'd go here as well.  If Pacioretty woke up and started clicking again with Desharnais then I'd play the Pleks line and the Desh line according to how well they were playing.  I'd also remind Smith-Pelly that he's here to hit and that if he didn't start hitting he'd start wearing a suit and tie more often.  That would go for everyone.  No more allowing guys to coast.  You float one game you sit.  No more excuses, no more floaters.

Defensively I'd leave the pairings as is.  I'd change the way they play though.  The high flying, risk taking that works when Carey Price is in net, doesn't work so well when Carey Price is not.  We've got good skaters.  We're still a fast team, faster than most.  That means we should be able to close down the puck fast.  I'd keep the assistant in charge of the penalty kill but I'd get a new one for the power play and I'd hire another assistant who knew how to trap; someone from the Swiss National Program maybe.  We'd trap.  We'd be boring to watch, we'd be hateful to play against, but we'd start winning games with the meager offense we've been providing lately.  Hey, why not?  At this point it couldn't be any worse. 


1 comment:

  1. Listening to the third period on my bike ride home from work, I started chuckling to myself as the blue jackets pulled away, in anticipation of the excellent post game radio to come. I was not disappointed.