The vast differences between the Rangers and Canadiens were on full display. The Rangers, with the NHL’s best record and the Canadiens struggling their way to their worst season in team history. In terms of overall talent, they are not on the same planet. In the third period with the game still fairly close, the Rangers didn’t allow a shot on goal until the 14th minute and then it came from the unlikely Brad Staubitz. The Canadiens had only ten scoring chances the entire game led, unbelievably, by Rene Bourque with three.
The Canadiens have one win in their last seven games. In the six losses they have scored a total of seven goals.
Adding It Up –
…..Bright Spot – The Canadiens best forward was David Desharnais. While his linemates were shut down by Rangers checkers, it was Desharnais who found the open ice. That said, he was minus-2, which tells you a lot about the way the game went.
…..Frustration– Max Pacioretty completed his tenth consecutive game without a goal. He had two shots on goal and one scoring chance. Over the ten goal drought, Pacioretty has registered an official 38 shots on goal and unofficially has had 32 scoring chances.
…..Auditioning – Blake Geoffrion got out of the press box for the first time in six games. He played with Eller and Blunden and had his moments including one of the rare Canadiens scoring chances late in the second period.
….No Hitter – Can’t remember the last time Alexei Emelin failed to register at least one hit in a game. Still, I thought he played pretty well. He attempted five shots on goal, forcing Lundqvist to make an excellent save on one of them.
….Mr. Invisible – Rene Bourque actually had three scoring chances in the game, two of them on one play late in the first period, and he scored his first goal since February 24th. Outside of that, once again his game was played on the perimeter.
….Nothing Doing – I still think that the coaching staff should replace Bourque with Palushaj on the line with Plekanec and Leblanc. Plekanec and Leblanc didn’t get a single shot in the game. At least we could be guaranteed of an all-out effort from Palushaj. Plekanec did make a nice play to set up Bourque for that goal.
….Did You Hold Your Breath? – Emelin’s defense partner, Andrei Markov took a hit with just over a minute left in the third period and limped off the ice. It was his left leg, not the surgically repaired right one.
….Also Worth Mentioning – …..Chris Campoli, who will be an unrestricted free agent on July first, did some good things in the Canadiens offensive zone. At the other end of the ice, not so good. …..Michael Blunden was a physical presence in the game and actually chipped in with a couple of good offensive moments. On the scoresheet, 3 shots on goal and 3 hits. …….Josh Gorges blocked four more shots. He was tripped by Marian Gaborik behind the net in the sequence leading up to Gaborik scoring the game’s opening goal. ….Carey Price wasn’t great. He’d want the third goal back. Leaned the wrong way trying to avoid the screen on the Richards goal. ….The good things P.K. Subban did far outweighed his mistakes. …… Like Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller is a centreman looking for some talented wingers ……There was a six minute period in the middle of the second period where the Canadiens appeared to be getting it together. It was an illusion. Over the entire six minutes, neither team had a shot on goal.
Looking Ahead – Mercifully, only four games left. Saturday in Washington and then home to Tampa on Wednesday, at Carolina Thursday and then the season finale Saturday at the Bell Centre next Saturday night.
The Draft Lottery Race – Overall Standings Updated
In games affecting the bottom third of the league standings, along with the Canadiens loss at Madison Square Garden, Los Angeles beat the Oilers 4-1 in Edmonton; Winnipeg over Carolina 4-3 in overtime. The Canadiens remain 28th in the overall league standings, a point ahead of the Oilers and two behind 27th place Minnesota.
22nd – Carolina 78 pts. 4 games remaining
23rd – Tampa Bay 77 pts. 5 games remaining
24th – Anaheim 77 pts. 5 remaining
25th – NY Islanders 77 pts. 5 remaining
26th – Toronto 75 pts. 4 remaining
27th – Minnesota 74 pts. 5 remaining
28th – Canadiens 72 pts. 4 remaining
29th – Edmonton 71 pts. 4 remaining
30th – Columbus 59 pts. 4 remaining