Habs Goalie: Condon (L)
Opposition Goalie: Crawford (W)
Habs goalscorers: Byron
Opposition goalscorers: Toews, Garbutt
Lars EllerThe first period for Montreal was terrible... again (I think Habs fans should unite and petition the NHL to reduce games to 40 minutes). Very few Canadiens even had their skates laced up until halfway through the first period. Lars was one of the only players who did. He was getting himself open for shots and he was forechecking. It was Eller who was carrying Galchenyuk for the first period He continued to be the best player on this line through the second period, using his size and strength to cycle well in Chicago's zone.
David Desharnais2:10 after the Toews goal and Desharnais's first chance on the ice since, he skated to the outside and flipped the puck into the path of Byron who was breaking towards the net. It was a bit of a fortunate bounce but on a night when we got more than one unfortunate bounce, we'll take it. Consistently, David has great vision and just lacks someone to bank the puck off for a goal or two (Weise). What earned David an appearance in the dome tonight was his back checking. He was getting his nose dirty, especially in the third, to keep the separation the lone goal and keep the Habs within striking distance.
Alex Galchenyuk - Game PuckIt's been a rough week for the 21 year old. His name has been mentioned in trade rumours for Jonathan Drouin. He's had a conversation with the police after an altercation with his (hopefully ex) girlfriend and a follow up conversation with Marc Bergevin. He's certainly aware that players have been whisked away for personal life issues involving alcohol and partying. He needed a big game. In the first period we didn't see one. He, like most of the lineup were floating. He started coming around in the second period, but it was the third period that Alex truly showed off his offensive talent. If only he managed to score.
PK SubbanIt was unfortunate that when PK dropped to a knee to block a shot from Andrew Shaw, Andrew fanned on the shot, it squirted under PK's shin, allowing Andrew to recover it and pass it across to a wide open Jonathan Toews. Other than that, PK was pretty solid defensively and his puck possession, skating, and movement were a class above again tonight.
Alexei EmelinHe was our defensive conscious throughout the game providing some good cover, with a sprinkle of massive hits. I think he'd rather hit than eat. I remember when Subban used to hit like that.
Mike CondonYet again Condon gave us a chance to win. There was no chance on either goal and he made some brilliant saves.
CommentsA flat first half of the first period cost Montreal. If Montreal played the first period the way it played the second and third... they might have tied Chicago 0-0. Montreal can't score and it's certainly not from lack of trying, or lack of chances created, lack of shots attempted or shots on goal. Cory Crawford made 39 saves tonight and there were another 21 shots blocked. There were some tremendous chances tonight that didn't come to fruition. You can break this down any way you like but you can't ask the Canadiens to do much more last night than they did (other than score). It is actually baffling to watch the kind of pressure that Montreal applied last night and not see them score. There's only one logical conclusion... the hockey gods are mad at us.
With all seriousness, this lack of scoring is a BIG problem right now. Big problems require big solutions. Maybe a big time trade. The trade orchestrated today by Marc Bergevin was not quite what I had in mind. Jared Tinordi could have been, and might still be, a quality NHL defenseman. I was of the opinion that he should have been up there by now. I wished him to get some time over Pateryn and Barberio. On a good note, Jared gets a fresh start in Arizona and I wish him the best. I also wish we got something even remotely on par in this trade. John Scott is useless and Victor Bartley is even worse. I know Tinordi was the odd man out on defense in Montreal. I get that since Tinordi wasn't in management's long term plan for the team that he isn't a real loss so this trade is a wash out but I think Marc could have at least gotten a player with some potential to play in the NHL some time in the future in return for the 6'6", 230 lb blue liner. It's unfortunate that Tinordi would not have cleared waivers and forced Bergevin's hand. I think the hope is for Bartley to fill a 6-7 roll up with Montreal. The fact that Vic has only played 1 game in the NHL so far should be a fair indicator as to how well he can fill that role. What's done is done. The loss of Tinordi isn't one of consequence as he wasn't playing. The loss of his potential to be a quality defenseman and the lose of the potential for a more useful trade may come back to bite us.
The trade I was hoping for was one that would have landed Jonathan Drouin in Montreal. There was a distinct possibility that Drouin would have played in the Habs' upcoming game against St. Louis, just not for the Habs. Thankfully that hasn't come to fruition. Other teams in the mix other than St. Louis and Montreal are; Minnesota, Anaheim, and Philadelphia. Lots of offers on the table for Steve Yzerman to sift through. While I still think that trading away our best centre (Galchenyuk) for Drouin, for the simple fact that we are so short on quality centres in the big club, would be a mistake landing Jonathan to play alongside Alex would be a dream come true. After today's trade I have some serious doubt that Marc Bergevin has the savvy to pull this off.
What about Steve Stamkos? The cost of Steve and the fact that he'd only be guaranteed until the end of this year will, rightfully so, steer the Canadiens away from him; at least until they know where Carey Price stands for the rest of the year. Speaking of which, Mr. Price is finally skating again. That's a great sign. Let's hope he continues to rehab well and doesn't rush into anything. Better late with him than never.
We're in serious trouble right now. We'll be out of a playoff spot by the end of the month if this keeps up. Something needs to give. Bergevin needs to add scoring and everyone, barring Price, should be on the table. Bergevin also needs to consider that lack of scoring was a problem identified last season and he hasn't addressed it by adding players to remedy that. If he thought that the current roster could fix things on their own, then he's going to need a new coach because this one doesn't seem to have a handle on the offence. It looks like Price will be back at some point this season but we shouldn't be this awful without him. Let's hope that go back to being magnificent with him.