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GAME #64 – STILL IN THE RACE – Canadiens-8 Detroit-1 (Feb. 26, 2019)

Feb 27th, 2019 | By

Claude Julien did what most coaches do when his team messes up the way the Canadiens did Monday night against New Jersey. He shook up his roster.

Among his many moves was dropping Jonathan Drouin down to play with Max Domi and Andrew Shaw. The reunion was spectacular and became the driving force behind an 8-1 win over a Detroit Red Wings that had clearly packed in it’s season with twenty games remaining.

The good things to come out of the game included the end of a five game road losing streak during which the Canadiens had been outscored 20-8. The win also fended off the wild card challenge of both Pittsburgh and Carolina, at least for the time being.

GAME #63 – BEDEVILLED – New Jersey-2 Canadiens-1 (Feb. 25, 2019)

Feb 26th, 2019 | By

It was a ‘do-nothing’ kind of day for the Canadiens Monday. Marc Bergevin hadn’t done a thing of note by the 3:00pm deadline and the team he has assembled seemed to show as little interest in getting involved in the playoff run as Bergevin did in helping the team to that end.

Making the 2-1 loss to New Jersey more difficult to swallow, the Canadiens were playing a team that had six starters including Taylor Hall, Sami Vatanen and Pavel Zacha on the injury list; had traded forward Marcus Johansson and goaltender Keith Kinkaid at the deadline and then finished the game with ten forwards after injuries to Miles Wood and John Quenneville.

It was the Canadiens fifth consecutive road loss. Since eleven of their remaining nineteen games are on the roa

GAME #62 – BLOWN OPPORTUNITY – Toronto-6 Canadiens-3 (Feb. 23, 2019)

Feb 24th, 2019 | By

The 2018-2019 version of the Canadiens is based on hard work and team structure. When both aspects are functioning more often than not they give themselves a chance to win. When those parts of their game go missing as they did in the second and third periods of Saturday’s game in Toronto, a loss generally follows.

Their hard work and discipline gave the Canadiens a that 3-0 first period lead. With a little more scoring touch it might have been 5-0. But that extra goal that might have tipped the game wasn’t there and the Canadiens seemed to lose intensity in the second period especially after giving up two power play goals and then all focus disappeared in the third period under the pressure of protecting a one-goal lead.

GAME #61 – GALLAGHER SCORES THREE – Canadiens-5 Philadelphia-1 (Feb. 21, 2019)

Feb 22nd, 2019 | By

With twelve wins in their previous fifteen games, the Philadelphia Flyers came into Montreal Thursday as one of the NHL’s hottest teams. The Canadiens didn’t give them a chance.

Brendan Gallagher scored his first of his three goals in the first minute. Ninety seconds later Mike Reilly hit a goalpost. Then on their second shot of the game Jesperi Kotkaniemi made it 2-0. Before the first period was over Gallagher had his second goal and the Canadiens had a 3-0 lead that ended with a 5-1 victory..

We’ve often heard the word “resilient” when it comes to describing this year’s Canadiens. This week we had another example of that ability to bounce back

GAME #60 – SLUMP BREAKER – Canadiens-3 Columbus-2 (Feb. 19, 2019)

Feb 20th, 2019 | By

It was hardly a classic effort but with their 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets the Canadiens at least ended their four game losing streak and gave the Eastern Conference wild card race a shaking up.

The win elevated the Canadiens into the first wild card berth while the Blue Jacket loss, combined with a Pittsburgh win moved the Penguins to third in the Metro division and dropped Columbus to the second wild card spot two points behind the Canadiens At the same time, potential party crashers Carolina, Philadelphia and Buffalo all lost their games.

With twenty-two games remaining, consider this shuffle as a preview of what is likely to be happen on a near-nightly basis surrounding the Canadiens struggle for a playoff berth.

GAME #59 – THE COLLAR TIGHTENS – Florida-6 Canadiens-3 (Feb. 17, 2019)

Feb 18th, 2019 | By

The Canadiens have hit the skids at the worst possible time.

Their 6-3 loss at Sunrise Florida Sunday night was their 4th in a row and third straight in regulation time during a road trip that saw them outscored 12-4. Only a week ago the Canadiens were in third place in the Atlantic Division and there was discussion of a first round playoff meeting between the Canadiens and Toronto. Since then the Canadiens have fallen to the second wild card berth (eighth in the Eastern Conference) and are now only one point away from being pushed right out of the playoff picture by the Carolina Hurricanes who have won three in a row and eight of their last ten games.

GAME #58 – OVERWHELMED – Tampa Bay-3 Canadiens-0 (Feb. 16, 2019)

Feb 17th, 2019 | By

There were two things that paving the way to the Canadiens 3-0 loss at Tampa Bay Saturday night.

Just past the game’s mid point Brendan Gallagher set up Bret Kulak for what seemed to be a 1-0 Canadiens lead only to have the goal erased on a coaches challenge that found Jesperi Kotkaniemi a fraction of an inch off-side.

Then in the third period’s first minute of a still goal-less game, as if the league’s best power play needed it, Phillip Danault was handed a phantom two-minute hooking penalty. With that advantage Nikita Kucherov scored what turned out to be the game’s winning goal.

Not that the ultimate result would have been any different but the two events proved to be pivotal. The Lightning scored their second goal 1:25 later and the Canadiens offense disappeared the rest of the night.

GAME #57 – NOT ENOUGH OFFENCE – Nashville-3 Canadiens-1 (Feb. 14, 2019)

Feb 15th, 2019 | By

It’s always a matter of talent.

Sometimes hard work can overcome a talent deficit. In Nashville it wasn’t to be.

Carey Price kept the Canadiens in the game through a scoreless first period. In the second period they shook off whatever rust they seem to have accumulated in their four days off but couldn’t score on any of their 21 shots and 11 high danger scoring chances.

Two of the Canadiens mistakes wound up in the net; Jonathan Drouin on the first goal and Jordie Benn on the game clincher and Nashville ended a three game losing streak with a 3-1 victory.

GAME #56 – THE RIVALRY ENDURES – Toronto-4 Canadiens-3 (Overtime) Feb. 9, 2019

Feb 10th, 2019 | By

One thing we’ve learned since early in the New Year: the Canadiens are not an easy out.

Once Montreal fans get over the disappointment of an overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs will be able to look at the bigger picture.

The Canadiens just completed a five game home-stand in which they picked up eight of a possible ten points (3-0-2). And they have taken three of four points in the first two games of arguably their toughest four game stretch of the season, with next week’s games in Nashville and Tampa yet to come.

GAME #55 – STAKING A CLAIM – Canadiens-5 Winnipeg-2 (Feb. 7, 2018)

Feb 8th, 2019 | By

Who saw this coming?

It was a total takedown of one of the three or four teams predicted to be in June’s Stanley Cup final. The Winnipeg Jets scored the first and last goals of the game. Between them the Canadiens scored five time, piled up 53 shots on goal and owned the Jets on the game’s every meaningful level.

Game analytics confirm what was there for all to see. According to the Canadiens had the puck 60% of the game. Of their 32 scoring chances, 18 were listed as high-danger compared to only 6 from the Jets.

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