Habs Goalie: Condon (L)
Opposition Goalie: Domingue (W)
Habs goalscorers: Weise, Gallagher
Opposition goalscorers: Hanzal, Duclair, Richardson, Ekman-Larsson, Connauton, Vermett,
There were lots of questions about our beloved Canadiens heading into this one and no answers to be had. With a win tonight, we're keeping pace. A loss, and we can go back to scouting for the draft.
Brendan GallagherYou have to admire Brendan Gallagher in this one and in most of the games he's played. The team looked defeated tonight before the game even started. The only player who seemed to feel the gravity of tonight was Gallagher. He's a good player and might be a better choice for a captain than the one we have.
Dale WeiseDale had a great start to the season. Somewhere along the line, along with the rest of the team, what made him a good player was forgotten. Tonight, at least for his goal, he got into a dirty spot; the kind of spot you pay a price to get into. He banged home the tying goal by doing what he's supposed to do. It's too bad we don't see more of that play from him.
Jacob De La RoseJacob had a good game tonight and was arguably our best forward. He was buzzing, and made a great play to drive to the net and dish the puck back to Weise for the goal. He played like he has something still to play for; a spot on the big club next year perhaps. It's too bad Therrien couldn't convince more of the players that, they too, had something to play for.
Nathan Beaulieu - Game PuckNathan had moments of brilliance tonight. He had a nice rush and drove to the net hard on Gallagher's goal, perhaps distracting the goaltender just enough for that one to squeak through. That was an excellent pass to Byron for that breakaway that was so nearly a very important goal.
Tom GilbertTom had the shift of the game tonight. He broke up a two on one, then helped maintain some great possession in the Arizona end by holding the line, pinching in, and even cycling down low before getting a pretty good chance on net.
Ben ScrivenBecause he's the one who should have been in the net to start this game. Two goals Condon should have had and the team knew it. Once that happened the Canadiens quit. There's no excuse for quitting, but, at this point I don't know too many people who wouldn't.
Post GameSolid plays tonight were few and far between. The pass by Beaulieu to Byron who eventually rung a shot off the post was pretty so see but I'd have to say Tom Gilbert's entire shit, late in the second period was masterful. He sprawled to break up an odd man rush, then skated hard to get into the play on the attack. Held the line well, pinched to keep the puck in when needed, then found himself cycling down low, with better effectiveness than many of the Montreal forwards tonight. He even got himself open for a good chance on goal. With so few of our team dialed in, it was nice to see, at least for one shift, this game mattered to Tom.
The Good News is I think after this game we can safely say we're out of the playoffs with no hope of getting into them this year. We're still only 6 points behind the last Wild Card spot (now Tampa Bay who has two games in hand on Montreal), and the three teams we have to leap frog are now Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh but with play like tonigh it's safe to say that the 3 game winning streak was a blip on the radar and that the play indicative of Montreal since December reflects this team more accurately right now. How is that good news? Well, we're only 6 points ahead of Columbus for third last place which gives us a decent shot at winning the draft lottery. And the best news is, by just coaching as per usual, Michel Therrien gives us an excellent shot of getting there.
The Bad News, in a nutshell, everything else. The fact that the absence of Carey Price is being used as an excuse to keep Michel Therrien is alarming. I know there's not a wealth of bilingual coaches out there so maybe we'll just have to hire the best coach available, language notwithstanding, and have in his contract that he has to take French lessons. I'm sick of hearing this buffoon, night in and night out, talk about puck luck and holding the players accountable. If the players are half as sick of him as I am, they're ready for a change and would probably welcome a trade if it gets them out of this mess. The fact that Carey Price has been on camera so much tells me one thing, and one thing only. That the Montreal management are using the media to string us along. They know what his injury is, and I'll bet they knew his rehab would take longer than they initially said. There's more. The fact that Geoff Molson hasn't stepped in and told Bergevin to do something or pack his bags would lead me to think that Geoff is okay with this mediocrity too.
There's not much positive going on right now but maybe the trade deadline can lift our spirits. Jonathan Drouin has played his last game as a Lightning so there is still a chance to make him a Canadien. Montreal has great pieces outside of Galchenyuk to go back to a team hoping to make a run at the Cup. Bergevin has stated that he will not trade Galchenyuk and I believe him. He stated that he wouldn't fire Therrien and despite overwhelming evidence and opinion that he should, he hasn't it. Other than that, Montreal has some pretty good trade bate. I've talked about Markov going. He's a great puck moving defenseman but his days of being a 1-2 guy are over. I've talked about Dale Weise. I love the guy when he's playing his game but he's a UFA and would potentially bring in more than his worth for a team wanting a proven playoff performer. I've talked about Tom Gilbert. He's 33 and a UFA. Draft picks and an open door for a younger player to step in would be nice. What we need? Youth. A defensively sound defenseman who can log big minutes and play with Subban to allow PK to be the all-star he is, a young, potential big scorer (Drouin), and some grit to replace the grit we're losing.
Now here's something to blindside the entire fanbase. Trade Tomas Plekanec. Trade him for a bag of pucks. Just get him and his salary off the books. Why? I love Plekanec and as a second line centre he would flourish. If we had a top centre and dropped Plekanec down to the second line, Desharnais would be relegated to third and we'd be better for it, but we're not going to get something for nothing. If we unload Markov for prospects or draft picks we free up $4.25 million for next year's salary cap. If we can unload Plekanec we free up another $7 million for next year. PK Subban is locked up for a long time for some big money. Wouldn't it be nice to bring in some friends for him to play with? If nothing else, Mr. Stamkos looked sharp the last time he wore a Habs jersey.