Monday, October 09, 2017

Montreal's Effort Can't Overcome Scoring Woes

Date: 08/10/2017
Opponent: NY Rangers
Location: Madison Square Garden
Loss: 2-0

Montreal Goalie: Price (L)
New York Goalie: Lundqvist (W)

Montreal goalscorers:
New York goalscorers: Skjei, Zibanejad

Pre Game

The game in Washington was bad, real bad, but I didn't think they'd knit back to back stinkers.  I truly hoped that such a spanking would result in the Habs coming out strong.  Despite the shortcomings of the Canadiens as a team this year, the biggest problem against Washington was effort.  The Capitals are a good team and better than the Canadiens, but not 5 goals better.

The problem was the Rangers were 0-2 going into this one and, themselves, were coming off a loss that they'd rather forget about.  With that said, the Canadiens would really need to piece together a quality game in order to beat a hungry Rangers team at Madison Square Garden.

Dome hockey team

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


Brendan Gallagher

For the third game in a row Gallagher was dynamite.  He didn't register a point but not from a lack of trying.  He's constantly in the face of opposing defensemen and as the season goes on he's going to draw a lot of penalties.

Thomas Plekanec

For the second game in a row Thomas did his job.  We're not expecting him to score.  What we're expecting is for him to win faceoffs (more than he did tonight), play sound defensive hockey, and cycle the puck, pinning the other team.  He did that.  Relegated to third line duties any points we get from him are gravy.  Since the other two lines are expected to score, and aren't, it's tough to put them in here.

Artturi Lehkonen 

Artturi had a wake up game tonight.  He was quiet against Buffalo and no one should be patted on the back after Washington.  He was good tonight, though, and gelled well with Plekanec and Hudon.  He's a sound defensive forward who made every inch difficult for the Rangers


Shea Weber - Game Puck

She Weber just quietly goes about his business night after night making sure the other team doesn't score while he's on the ice, and for the last two games they haven't.  When you consider who did their job tonight, it doesn't matter what the reasons or excuses are for not doing so, he doesn't need them because he did his.

Jordie Benn

Jordie wasn't very good against Buffalo and he was brutal against Washington but tonight he was solid.  He kept his game simple which seemed to cut down on mistakes.  He got some time with Weber tonight which was a smart coaching move.  Put him with the best we've got to make it easier for him so he can find his own game.  Tonight it worked.  Might have to do that with Alzner and Petry.


Carey Price

We'd all like him to have picked up the puck better on that second goal but Carey played solid enough to give the team a chance to win.  It's not his fault they can't score. 

Post Game

The Canadiens responded well to last night's drubbing and were on fire in the first period.  They were rewarded for the effort with not one, but two goals past Henrik Lundqvist.  Unfortunately neither one of them counted.  I knew when the second one was called back that Montreal was in trouble.  It's tough to keep the momentum going after having one goal called back but two...?  That's a tough pill to swallow.

The Good News is the defense played much better tonight.  They seemed to simplify their game which cut down on mistakes and they are all very good at keeping the puck alive in the offensive zone.  Yes, they made defensive mistakes, but we're never going to see a perfect game.  Teams are going to capitalize on those mistakes too, it happens, but tonight was the first game this season they showed a hint that they might be an NHL caliber defense core after all.

The Bad News is that Carey Price is human.  He's going to make mistakes too.  It might be sacrilegious to say such things in the Habs fan world but it's true.  Tonight he lost the puck behind the net and it cost us a goal.  It's too bad his mistakes usually cost us games as there's only one other player on this team, right now, who's good enough to bail Carey out.  Unfortunately he doesn't score many goals either.

The ugly part of the game was Montreal's continued lack of scoring.  I don't know what it is.  If I did I'm sure Marc Bergevin would pay me for the information.  They create chances.  They maintain pressure.  They've got guys who can score.  They just don't score.  Based on recent years it's not unreasonable to expect the line up Pacioretty/Drouin/Gallagher to score a combined 82 goals this season assuming they play 82 games.  Expect Pacioretty to score mid 30 (35), Drouin to build from last year and get mid 20 (25) and Gallagher to benefit from a full healthy season playing with those two talents and get slightly less than Drouin (23).  Right now they're on pace to get 27 combined.

Our "second line" isn't really a second line.  Danault has done nothing to make me thing he'll ever be able to contribute offensively enough to be on the second line and I'd personally like to see he and Plekanec swap.  Same with Shaw.  I don't know how Byron scores 20 goals last year and is rewarded with fourth line duty.  You put Byron up with Plekanec and Galchenyuk and you can reasonably expect in 82 games another 60+ goals which isn't bad from your second line.  If those two lines play to their potential and we don't get a point from the third and fourth lines That's over 140 goals this season.  We get the scattered goal from the likes of Danault, Shaw, Lehkonen, De La Rose, etc. and scoring 2 goals a game is a reasonable goal and enough for Carey Price to win on most nights.

Line changes or not, the goals will come.  Statistics don't lie.  We're just saving them for after Christmas this year, when they count.


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