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GAME #51 – INTO THE BREAK ON A ROLL – Canadiens-2 Arizona-1 (Jan. 23, 2019)

Jan 24th, 2019 | By

I suppose it’s “the glass half-empty” side of me that makes me want to first mention the fact that the Canadiens 2-1 win over Arizona Wednesday night put seven points between themselves and the seventh place Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference rather than the fact that, as they head into the All-Star break the Canadiens moved out of the wild card race and into third place in the Atlantic Division. That reaction is probably the residue of the diminished expectations for the team back in October.

GAME #50 – OUT OF STEAM – Philadelphia-5 Canadiens-2 (Jan. 19, 2019)

Jan 20th, 2019 | By

Was it the two games in twenty-four hours? Or the four games in six nights. Maybe it was the eight games in 13 days including three sets of back-to-back with travel between? Or perhaps a combination of all of those things that cau

sed the Canadiens to run out of gas after a dominant first period against Philadelphia Saturday night. Problem was the Canadiens didn’t score on any of their multiple first period chances and they became sitting ducks for the Flyers late in the second period. End of the four game winning streak, but one of those games in a long schedule that a team can rationalize and quickly forget.

GAME #49 – MOVING ON UP – Canadiens-4 Columbus-1 (Jan. 18, 2019

Jan 19th, 2019 | By

Face it, goaltending has been the key to three of the last four Canadiens wins. Claude Julien pointed that out after the Columbus gamenand it’s not disputable. The save totals in the last three have been 41, 52 and, in this game, 34. Carey Price has been in for three of the four wins in the current strak during which he has given up three goals. Price didn’t have to deal with the work load of the Boston overtime-win but in the third period he had to protect the Canadiens’ 2-1 lead and made very strong saves on the breakaways by Ryan Murray and Josh Anderson.

GAME #48 – NIEMI MAKES 52 SAVES – Canadiens-5 Florida-1 (Jan. 15, 2019)

Jan 16th, 2019 | By

Antti Niemi was extraordinary through the first two periods of Tuesday night’s Florida game but his third period created the biggest impression.

The Panthers came into the game a desperate hockey team after losing their last six games. They were playing a Canadiens team that had won an emotional game in Boston the night before and understandably had trouble finding their legs in the first period. They righted things somewhat in the second period to get a 3-1 lead.. He had already made 31 saves, a full goaltending night in most games, but in the third period fatigue started to set in and Niemi really had to go to work.

GAME #47 – PRICE STOPS 41 – Canadiens-3 Boston-2 (Overtime) Jan. 14, 2019

Jan 15th, 2019 | By

The Boston Bruins were a better hockey team than the Canadiens Monday night except in one very important area. The Canadiens had the goaltender.

The Bruins controlled 58.33% of the play. Shots on goal favoured the Bruins 43-22. The Bruins led in scoring chances 31-26 and 11-8 in dangerous chances.

But Carey Price stopped 41 of 43 shots. And the Canadiens won the game 3-2 in overtime.

GAME #46 – SHUTDOWN HOCKEY – Canadiens-3 Colorado-0 (Jan. 12, 2019)

Jan 13th, 2019 | By

The Canadiens are back in a playoff position thanks to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche combined with Saturday night losses by Buffalo and the New York Islanders.

This game wasn’t easy. For two periods the Avalanche played a nearly perfect road game, holding the Canadiens in check and off the score sheet while taking the crowd out of the picture. If anything, were it not for some more impressive work from Carey Price, the Canadiens could easily have been down a goal or two going to the third period.

GAME #45 – ONE TO FORGET – St. Louis-4 Canadiens-1 (Jan. 10, 2019)

Jan 11th, 2019 | By

The hockey analytics crowd kept telling us that the early Canadiens goalscoring success was not going to be sustainable through the entire season.

The stats-guys are being proven right. Almost every one of the forwards that carried the Canadiens to their early season success have gone in the tank.

Max Domi has gone a calendar month and fifteen games without a goal; Brendan Gallagher’s goal against the Blues was his first in ten games. Paul Byron is at eight games. Tomas Tatar’s only two goals over the last fifteen came in the same Florida game and the frustrating Jonathan Drouin has two goals over his last twelve games but one of those was scored into an empty net. We had a brief scoring surge from Phillip Danault but nobody was hopeful that was going to last.

GAME #44 – WINNING UGLY – Canadiens-3 Detroit-2 (Jan. 8, 2019)

Jan 9th, 2019 | By

Following Monday night’s home ice loss to Minnesota the Canadiens didn’t arrive at their Detroit Hotel until 4:00 am Tuesday. Tuesday night it showed against the Red Wings. Fortunately for the Canadiens, the Red Wings are what they are at this point in time, and Montreal came away with a 3-2 win.

It wasn’t a pretty win. Matter of fact it was downright ugly. But it ended a two game losing streak and put the Canadiens back into the second Eastern Conference playoff berth at least for now.

GAME #43 – AWOL OFFENCE – Minnesota-1 Canadiens-0 (Jan. 7, 2019)

Jan 8th, 2019 | By

I suppose things might have been different if Shea Weber hadn’t taken that puck in the face six minutes into the game and missed the second and third periods. Except, considering the Canadiens record against Minnesota since December 2014, something was bound to keep the Wild’s nine game winning streak going against them. 1-0 was the final score Monday night. Over the nine game Canadiens losing streak the Canadiens have been outscored by Minnesota 36-10.

GAME #42 – HARD LESSON – Nashville-4 Canadiens-1 (Jan. 5, 2019)

Jan 6th, 2019 | By

Calling it a “statement game” had become something of a hockey cliché in recent years. Call Saturday night’s more of a “measurement game”. And the Canadiens didn’t measure up against the Nashville Predators.

Not that we should be surprised. The Canadiens, who are trying to establish themselves as a wild card team in the East were playing a team that is on the short list of Stanley Cup favourites.

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