All entries by this author

GAME #82 – A MAGICAL SEASON FINALE – Canadiens-6 Toronto-5 (Shootout) April 6, 2019

Apr 7th, 2019 | By

It was a game in which neither team had anything to gain or lose. It turned out to be something very special.Two weeks from his college team being eliminated in the NCAA playoffs, 2017 first round draft choice Ryan Poehling played not only his first NHL game, but his first game as a professional. It was something to behold.With the Canadiens trailing 2-0 midway through the first period, Poehling fearlessly drove to the crease and somehow managed to force a pass out from Jordan Weal past Federik Andersen. It was challenged of course. That’s what what Mike Babcock does. First NHL goal on his first shot on goal and it brought the Bell Centre house down.

GAME #81 – ON THE ELIMINATION PRECIPICE – Washington-2 Canadiens-1 (April 4, 2019)

Apr 5th, 2019 | By

The Canadiens put themselves in a nearly impossible position when they managed only one of a possible four points in those two earlier games against Columbus and Carolina. Left in a nearly impossible situation all Thursday night’s loss in Washington did was drive the penultimate nail into the coffin of their season. In their final two games, all Columbus will nedd is a single point out of their games at New York against the 26th overall Rangers Friday night or Saturday’s game against the league’s worst team in Ottawa. Friday night’s game in Washington was a microcosm of the Canadiens season. They dominated early. Should have had a two or three goal lead at the end of the first period but skated off in a 1-1 tie. Ultimately the Canadiens led every offensive statistic in the game including 61.4% of the shot attempts and 73.8% of the high danger scoring chances. And as we have seen time and again this season, their inability to score the critical goal eluded them and they lost the game.

GAME #80 – GAME OF THE YEAR – Canadiens-4 Tampa Bay-2 (April 2, 2019)

Apr 3rd, 2019 | By

Talk about saving your best for last. It was the Canadiens most complete game of the year during their most important stretch of games of the year.Granted, with the playoffs looming the Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t have their eye on the prize Tuesday night, but they weren’t so much off their game as to subject to the kind domination the Canadiens presented. There was no area of the ice that the Canadiens didn’t excel. They controlled two-thirds of the game’s puck possession while outshooting Tampa 45-24. It actual shooting attempts it was 92-52 against the NHL’s best offensive machine.

GAME #79 – STAYIN’ ALIVE – Canadiens-3 Winnipeg-1 (March 30, 2019)

Mar 31st, 2019 | By

After Saturday night’s game in Winnipeg you ask yourself why the Canadiens couldn’t have played as well against Columbus as they did against the Jets. A better question might be why Winnipeg could play so badly considering their tentative hold on first place in the Central Division. But for a brief stretch after the Jets made it a one-goal game with eight minutes remaining, the Canadiens had total ownership of a team that is vastly more talented than they are. That said, when the Canadiens are skating and implementing Claude Julien’s stifling defensive game to it’s fullest, they can be very hard to get around. Consider this as one of those ‘perfect road games’ to which we often refer.

GAME #78 – DEATH KNELL – Columbus-6 Canadiens-2 (March 28, 2019)

Mar 29th, 2019 | By

It is a question that’s been asked around Montreal for the last decade.It goes like this. “Which is better? A small but very fast team or a team with size and speed?” The answer from any NHL coach would be the latter, especially heading into the playoffs, or in the case of Thursday night’s game in Columbus, a game that could decide playoff berth.  You would not be far off in blaming size as the key factor in the Canadiens 6-2 loss.  Size, and a failure to play the game away from the boards, where the Blue Jackets were guaranteed to dominate.  

GAME #77 – STILL IN THE PLAYOFFS – Canadiens-6 Florida-1 (March 26, 2019)

Mar 27th, 2019 | By

The Canadiens had to win this game. Failing to do so against a Florida Panthers team that had lost all semblance of playing structure would have been a disaster.At this point, the only thing for which the Panthers could be playing at this stage of a lost season is the joy of the game itself. The Canadiens took away the Panthers fun in the first fifteen minutes.While the Panthers are devoid of structure, the opposite is true for the Canadiens at this point. After brief stretch where the Canadiens seemed to lose their form, even without the emotional commitment of Jonathan Drouin, they have returned to what may be their best hockey of the season.

GAME #76 – IMPORTANT POINT GAINED – Carolina-2 Canadiens-1 (Overtime) March 24, 2019

Mar 25th, 2019 | By

Losing that game in Raleigh Sunday night was disappointing but all things considered this was a pretty good week for the Canadiens. Playing four games in six nights they still pocketed seven of eight points and moved back into the second wild card berth. It’s hard to criticize that.It’s pretty clear the Canadiens paid the price for the week’s heavy work load, noticably in the last half of the first period and then in the third period when they lost their legs.

GAME #75 – DOMI & GALLAGHER LEAD THE WAY – Canadiens-7 Buffalo-4 (March 23, 2019)

Mar 24th, 2019 | By

Funny how it goes sometimes.NHL coaching staffs spend the season’s first seventy games drumming into their players how to do things ‘the right way’ and then when it comes to a critical game in the playoff race all of those drills are forgotten and we end up with a run-and-gun track meet.But it all turned out well and good in the end. The Canadiens outlasted the Buffalo Sabres 7-4 for their third straight win and with that moved three points ahead of Columbus in the continuing race for the East’s final playoff berth.

GAME #74 – BACK IN THE PLAYOFF PICTURE – Canadiens-4 NY Islanders-0 (March 21, 2019)

Mar 22nd, 2019 | By

The Canadiens 4-0 win over the Islanders Thursday night was impressive. After a string of second-rate efforts, it was the second straight game in which the Canadiens held things together for the entire sixty minutes. It was also the second straight game in which Carey Price wasn’t left with the feeling that he was manning the ramparts alone. A week ago in New York the Canadiens were totally owned by the Islanders especially in the neutral zone. Only Price prevented a 2-1 loss from becoming a 6-1 rout. With home ice advantage Thursday night the Canadiens completely reversed their fortunes. Not only was the defence impeccable, but they also found some of the offence that he been missing over the last month.

GAME #73 – ROAD EXCELLENCE – Canadiens-3 Philadelphia-1 (March 19, 2019)

Mar 20th, 2019 | By

After spending most of the month of March digging their own grave, the Canadiens postponed attending their own funeral with an impressive 3-1 win over the Flyers in Philadelphia Tuesday night.It was the first Canadiens regulation win in Philadelphia since Jaroslav Halak shut the Flyers out 1-0 on April 2nd 2010. This game involved two teams with backs against the playoff wall. The Canadiens rose to the occasion. For some reason, the Flyers didn’t……………

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