Monday, October 23, 2017

Ducks Shoot Down Habs Hopes of Getting Win in Cali

Date: 20/10/2017
Opponent: Anaheim
Location: Honda Center
Loss: 6-2

Montreal Goalie: Price (L)
Anaheim Goalie: Gibson (W)

Montreal goalscorers:  Gallagher, Byron
Anaheim goalscorers: Grant (2), Vermette, Montour, Wagner, Rasmussen

Pre Game

Another embarrassing loss and we're all left scratching our heads how.  How does a team play solid hockey for 2 periods then come out and play so flat in the third?  Was it just that the Los Angeles Kings played poorly for two periods and turned it on in the third?  I suspect that had something to do with it but poor play by one team has to be somewhat due to good play by the opposition, so how can this team be so bad?  Is there just too much pressure to play in Montreal?  Media certainly doesn't do the team any favours but these are multi millionaire athletes, surely they're able to handle it. 

Whatever the case, going into Anaheim was a cringe worthy event.  I was just left wondering how bad this one would be.

Dome hockey team

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


Paul Byron - Game Puck

Paul scores for the second game in a row and there's no surprise he's doing this.  Last year he scored 22 goals.  Why he started the year on the fourth line is a mystery.  Just because some rookie has a good camp doesn't mean you stick him up on the third or second line ahead of a 20 goal scorer.  He gets the game puck because, despite this string of disgusting play, he, at least, is still doing his job.

Brendan Gallagher

Brendan chipped in with another goal last night tying him for second in team scoring with Mr. Game Puck.  Considering that Karl Alzner is actually second in points but coughs up the puck better than my cat coughs up hairballs, I don't put him in the scoring ranking.

Thomas Plekanec 

Thomas has been fairly consistent this season and was fairly consistent tonight which is why he belongs in the dome.  Flanked by a couple of goalscorers, this line would have actually been decent to watch had they been skated together, especially in the first and third periods where we needed some sort of stabilising force. 


Jamie Benn 

One of the few games this season where I haven't been completely ashamed to watch Benn in a Canadiens jersey.  As it happens he was our best defencement.

Jeff Petry

It came down to Jeff or a downhill ski marker tonight and Jeff scraped his way in there.


Charlie Lindgren

All I can say is why not?  Neither of the two goalies currently playing with the big club are getting the job done.

Post Game

So time for a change.  Forget waiting until they come home to play the Panthers to see if they can break out of this slump.  This is the first time the team has lost this many games in a row since 1940.  This is the worst streak in 77 years.  Not a record we want to be breaking here.

Keep Price but drastically reduce his playing time.  Put Montoya on waivers.  We don't care where he goes.  Alternate by taking up Zach Fucale and Charlie Lindgren.  Give them meaningful games.  See if either one of these guys will take the puck and skate with it.  We need a good backup goaltender.  We need a good starting goaltender too but Carey won't stay this bad forever, we hope.  If this season is going to tank, and there's a real possibility that it will, we need to prepare for the future and that future could be without Carey Price.  In that scenario it'll be up to one of these guys to take the reigns and we need to get their feet wet sooner rather than later.

I'm not sold on Mete.  He's had good minutes playing along side of Shae Weber but is that due to Mete's skill or Weber's?  I say let's see.  Put Petry up with Weber for a few games to see if he can get his stride back.  Drop Mete down on the second pairing and bring up Benn.  Benn is actually better defensively than Alzner, which doesn't say much but it's still true.  If Mete is as good as some people think he is, he might help elevate Benn's game as well.  Now who to play with Alzner?  There's no one in the Montreal system right now who can handle this assignment.  Go sign Andrei Markov.  I'm pretty sure there isn't a deal between the KHL and NHL that prohibits players under contract in one league, playing in the other.  We need an NHL calibre defenseman and he's the only one available right now.  I wonder if Bergevin still thinks that third round draft pick for Beaulieu was a good deal.

They're not scoring and they can't play much worse than they've been playing.  Let's get Galchenyuk up off the fourth line and out of the doghouse.  Sure, his play since being put there hasn't been great but he did nothing to deserve being put there to begin with.  Bring him up on the top line and put him centre.  Keep Drouin on the top line as one winger and bring Gallagher back up for the other. Drouin/Galchenyuk/Gallagher as our top line and I guarantee you will see exciting hockey.  They might not shut down the opposition resulting in goals against but that can't get much worse than it is and this line will score goals.

Thomas Plekanec has been playing good hockey and deserves to be on the second line and he's had good chemistry in the past with Pacioretty.  You stick Paul Byron on that line and we'll get goals from this line too.  Why?  Drouin plays too fast for Pacioretty whereas Plekanec slows the game down and is a pass first player more so than Drouin.  Combine that with Byron's speed which should create some space for his linemates and Pacioretty will have a little more time to get his shot off.  That's why Max doesn't score much in the playoffs, that little bit of extra time he needs isn't there, but the Canadiens need to actually make the playoffs first so let's get him scoring again.

The third line centre should be Danault with Lehkonen and Hudon.  All good players who can skate and cause trouble for opposing players.  Neither of these players has shown that they have the offensive upside for any extended period of time to be considered for the top two lines.

Big layoff until they face the Panthers on Tuesday night.  Lots of time to brainstorm and watch video to piece together more compatible lines and defensive pairings.  Lots of time to review tape with players and go over the mistakes they're making which are costing games.  Let's hope Claude Julien can come up with something.  If nothing else, maybe it's time to trap.  The Canadiens don't score goals anyway so we don't have to worry about goal production decreasing.  It will cut down on goals against.  This should allow the defence and goalies to gain their confidence.  Even losing games one or two to nothing is better than this.  Still, there's always hope that Florida will be the turn around game.  It's all we've got.


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