Sunday, January 17, 2016

Habs leave St. Louis singin' the blue and yet again find a way to lose

Date: 09/01/2016
Opponent: St. Louis
Location: St. Louis
Loss: 4-3(OT)

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

Habs goalscorers: Subban, Pacioretty, Plekanec
Opposition goalscorers: Fabbri, Stastny, Rattie, Lehtera

Play of the game

Montreal were skating as good as or better than any team in the NHL tonight.  The St. Louis Blues are no slouches and Montreal were making them look like an AHL team, and yet again the Habs inexplicably found themselves down 1-0 too early in the game.  It was the beginning of the Blues' march to the penalty box in the second period.  Peter Stastny was off for tripping.  Montreal had established and sustained some good pressure on the power play.  Markov passed it across to Subban who, off balance, rifled it on net.  Another goal from Subban by shooting from the point, a very important power play goal, but most importantly it erased the early mistake that allowed St. Louis to go ahead.

Dome hockey team

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


Max Pacioretty

Max does what he's supposed to do and that's put the puck in the net.  This goal wasn't easy.  The puck bobbled to him and Elliot was in good position but he still managed to get this puck up in a hurry.  The poise he showed after scoring was indicative of where his priorities are.  Goals are meaningless without wins.

Tomas Plekanec

Plekanec was excellent tonight with his linemates.  An important faceoff win on Max's goal and a great one timer for his own.  The top line was flying and Pleky was an important piece to it.

Brendan Gallagher - Game Puck

Just the one assist tonight but this man is the catalyst to our offence.  He's been quiet since the game against Philadelphia (the last time Montreal scored more than 2 goals, also in a losing cause).  We need to find a way to get him going and still play sound defence.


PK Subban

Subban was amazing tonight.  On top of the goal he was pounding the puck on net all night and in a wild game like this managed to not take a penalty or give the puck away; and when you consider that he was just 7 seconds shy of a 30 minute night that's quite impressive. 

Alexei Emelin

This spot was for Markov until the very last play of the game, but when you give the puck up that creates a breakaway on which the goal that costs you the game is scored on, we can't have you in here.  For the second straight game Alexei is in the dome.  He played solid enough defensively with few mistakes and when St. Louis attempted to start bullying Montreal into submission, Em answered the bell with a booming hit on Stastny.  When Brouwer tried to rough up our captain and top forward, this was a very necessary message to St. Louis that we've got ways to get at your top guys too.


 Ben Scrivens

Poor rebound control on the opening goal and a poor decision coupled with poor puck handling on the tying goal.  For a man that has kept us into so many games with stellar goaltending only to not be provided any goal support, to have a stinker in a game he finally gets some is unfortunate and a little disheartening.  Ben gets the nod into the dome tonight because we wouldn't have done any worse with him in net.  I suspect he'll get the nod tomorrow night in Chicago.


My dad laments often about the Flying Frenchmen of old.  Tonight we got a taste of the Canadiens of yesteryear.  Were they ever a treat to watch tonight.  Lots of chances, great skating, great movement, tape to tape passing, and lots of shots on net.  It was a great team effort.  Now I'm not one to snub a three goal performance but when you fire 49 shots on net you should score more than 3.  Elliot still had a .939 save percentage.  Montreal has a knack for making goaltenders look good.  I have no answers why.  Maybe stop shooting the puck at the goaltender?  I'm not sure.  I do know that 50 shots on net per game isn't realistic so Montreal had better find a way to stop making every goaltender look like a Vezina Trophy candidate and soon.

Tonight our first line was dynamite.  Pacioretty, Plekanec and Gallagher were leading the way by scoring our two even strength goals.  When Gallagher comes alive he drags the other two up with him and they readily responded.  PK was great again as well and that shot from the point is something he needs to continue to do moving forward.  Despite the resurgence of our top line and PK's dominance from the blue line, Therrien did all he could to ensure Montreal would lose again.  Galchenyuk has been our most consistent forward over the last month... at center.  Why, then, was he moved to the wing with Desharnais and Weise?  It was nice for Eller to show that he is still a legitimate third line center but we had a chance tonight, with how well Eller and Chuky have played together and Weise being reunited with Desharnais, to get our original lines back together.  Putting our two youngest defensemen together, both with some fantastic offensive upside but a little dodgy in their own end, on the third pair was tempting fate.  Their inexperience compounded Condon's mistake leading to the tying goal.  I was actually shocked when I saw the line up tonight.  For a man who should be feeling the heat of where he'll be working next month, Therrien is certainly going about keeping his job in an "interesting" manner.

Jonathan Drouin interest is heating up.  It seems Canadiens' management and fans alike are drooling over the prospect of this Quebec native suiting up for the Habs.  Both Mark Mowers, an eastern professional scout, and Rick Dudly, an assistan GM, were at the Syracuse Crunch game last night so we know Montreal are getting serious about this.  I suspect, at this point, Jonathan Drouin will be a Montreal Canadien.  I also suspect, due to the necessity created by Montreal's severe slump that we will overpay for him.  By how much is the question.  Who is 100% off the table?  Price, Pacioretty, Subban?  Is everyone else fair game?  I wouldn't trade Gallagher.  And there's one other player I would keep.  Alex Galchenyuk.  More than anything last year we needed a #1 centre.  As of right now we still don't have one.  David Desharnais, despite his skill and skating ability is just too small to go up against the majority of top centres in this league.  Tomas Plekanec, while he played brilliantly last night just has the skill sets that better suit being a shut down centre over the scorer.  Alex Galchenyuk (despite the lack of coaching in the position he's received in his NHL career up until now) is the only player currently in our system who has the potential to fill this role.  If we trade him away to plug one hole (maybe, there's no guarantee that a player currently in the AHL will be the solution to Montreal's scoring woes) we immediately create another.  I know players with Drouin's potential aren't made available every day but neither are players with #1 centre potential.  I know Bergevin must be feeling the heat now too (Montreal is clinging onto the last wildcard spot by one point) and it is in times like these, when GM's are desperately trying to protect their own jobs, that some of the worst decisions are made.

I am a little ashamed that Montreal has been drawn into the John Scott fiasco.  The NHL All-Star game has been a complete and utter waste of time for years now, maybe a decade.  I haven't watched it.  I can go watch a better, more contested game of shinny at my neighbourhood arena.  The NHL, grasping at straws, allowed the fans to vote for any player and in a big giant "F-U" to the NHL (Gary Bettman) the fans voted in John Scott.  John Scott was pressured by the NHL and the Coyotes to forfeit his spot to someone else.  Why should he?  He was voted in.  He'd done nothing wrong.  Heck, if he was in the All-Star game I would have watched it.  Just to see him.  Then the trade.  I couldn't understand why Montreal would trade for John Scott.  I understood the unfortunate circumstance of Jared Tinordi.  I had blogged a week or so earlier that I hoped for the young man to get traded for a fresh start to his career seeing as how Therien obviously had no intention of ever using him.  I would have liked to have gotten more back but Bergevin had backed himself into a hole and now needed to trade Tinordi or risk losing him on waivers.  I think, now, that John Scott was forced upon Therrien.  I think NHL brass had a hand in getting John Scott out of the Western Conference and into the minors.  Here's something else too.  Over the last few months scrutinizing the Montreal games I was tempted more than once to write about the terrible and inconsistent refereeing.  Stick gets slashed out of a Habs' player's hands on one play then the referee calls the same player for interference.  The Canadiens aren't a physical team and if referees leave their whistles in their pockets it certainly doesn't favour them.  Game after game I watched as non calls played a factor in how the games were played.  then last night, the first game after Bergevin does the NHL a favour and buries John Scott, Montreal gets a period long power play.  Coincidence?  Maybe.

Still, we got a point.  We all wanted a win.  We deserved a win.  We played well enough as a team for a win; we even scored enough goals to win.  It's unfortunate that Condon wasn't at his best tonight, but that point is what keeps Montreal on the inside of the playoff picture.  We still need Price back.  He'd have gotten us another point tonight.  We also need to find a way to score.  That either means a big shake up trade (Drouin) or a new coach and if Bergevin doesn't find a way to do either he may find himself unemployed wishing he had.  Next up is Chicago.  If we keep playing like this we're bound to win eventually.  The hockey gods can't stay mad at us forever.  Although after the hand Bergevin had in burying John Scott they just might.



  1. We need a real coach who won't put wonky knee slow old defensemen on the ice in ot and not play them 26 minutes or play them in back to back games. I fear that Condon if feeling the pressure again but he is not the real problem here. We have a popgun offense and a guy way in over his head as a coach. Toronto has a head coach who gets the most out of mostly AHL level talent and we have a coach who disregards statistics and help from a power play coach and does things his own stubborn way. Time to move on from him and remember folks his contract may have been for 4 years but it has an out clause so we are only on the hook with Molson money for 3 years. Let's try Eric VIELLEUX from the ECHL as he is young and understands the new game much better.

  2. Good summary; you seem confident about drouin coming. I hope they don't trade galchenyuk. Tired of seeing desharnais falling all over the place, no matter how scrappy he is.

    The habs lost the game in the first period. They had some shots on goal (11, but they were from the perimeter, and non threatening. It was one of the worst periods of hockey I've seen them play.

    Like you say, they picked up their play to make an entertaining game, but this team isn't good enough to win playing from behind on most nights. It was a departure from normalcy that they managed to get the loser point I'm overtime. Team needs a full 60 effort to win.

  3. I would respectfully disagree about the first period assessment as they managed to tie up the game and take a lead into the third period.

    More than anything they found a way to lose against the Blues. I'm actually baffled with how they played as well as they did and still lost. I'd like to see Therrien go to see if a new coach can right the train before Bergevin begins to blow up the core roster.

    1. Was it not as bad as I saw it? They looked very flat to me, but then again I was tired, and that might have coloured my perception. Maybe it was the first half of the period, but they started off poorly (after that initial chance)

      You mean, a new assistant coach? Power play hasn't been the same since we lost that assistant coach to the panthers. TBH I think things would have to have gone very very far south in the locker room for them to fire MT, as he is being paid for 3 *more* seasons after this one ends. It would take a lot for an owner to watch (6? 8? 10?)-million dollars go down drain.