AGAINST THE WALL – NY Rangers-3 Canadiens-2 (Overtime) April 20, 2017

Apr 20th, 2017 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

We’ve seen it so many times, especially with the most recent versions of the Canadiens.

Their work ethic gets them a lead but their offense can’t get them the needed extra one that will get them over the hump.  As a result the sit back, protecting the one-goal advantagel and the opposition comes back on them.

That was the scenario in Game Five of the Ranger series Thursday night. On the same manpower advantage the Canadiens answered a shorthanded goal with a power play goal of their own and took a 2-1 lead with just under four minutes left in the first period.  From that point – nothing.  With Gallagher’s power play goa the Canadiens had piled up 14 shots on Henrik Lundqvist. The rest of the game, outside of the third period Max Pacioretty breakaway, they had barely a sniff. And now they face elimination in New York on Saturday night.


Halfway through regulation time the Canadiens were in control. They had a 22-10 shots on goal advantage but the Rangers had just been given a lift by killing off back-to-back penalties to Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello. From that point  they were on their heels as the Rangers took over the game outshooting Montreal 26-12, including a totally lopsided 10-3 in the overtime. The only signs of life from the Habs was a shorthanded cross-bar by Phillip Danault and the Pacioretty breakaway.


It’s not over yet, but the headline for this series could be “Pacioretty Flames Out.” It’s a little unfair because there are a few others who have contributed little in the first five games of the series but Pacioretty is the Canadiens 35 goal scorer and on the offensive side of the puck, he is dying out there.

The Captain leads the playoffs with 24 shots on goal over five games and has only one assist to show. Andrei Markov sent him away on a breakaway with seven minutes left and Henrik Lundqvist stoned him. That was the ‘game-over’ moment. We’ve seen Pacioretty in these slumps before. He had a horrible one through the first two months of the season.  Unfortunately he’s now running out of race track in his attempt to get back on track..


Alexander Radulov carried the Canadiens through most of the first four games. He was busy but, for one reason or the other, not very effective in Game Five. I think part of that might fall on the people with whom he was on the ice. The problem continues to be there were few who were playing well enough offensively to pick him up.


….What to do with Alex Galchenyuk? That will be a discussion through the summer in the Canadiens front offices. He picked up the second assist on the opening goal of the game, but really had little to do with it beyond being on the ice at the time. On the night he had one shot on goal, didn’t hit anybody and won only 2 of six faceoff attempts.

….Once again Julien juggled his first and third lines and left the Plekanec line intact. And for good reason. Everything about that line has been good throughout the series. Plekanec continues to win 62 percent of faceoffs. Gallagher was the game’s second star and Paul Byron logged six hits. As a matter of fact the undersized line put up 11 hits and eight shots on goal.

….It’s not for lack of trying. Pacioretty attempted 13 shots; five on goal and six of them were blocked.

….Lost in all of this was Artturi Lehkonen who had a goal and assist and was probably on the short list in game-star selection.  Lehkonen also had five shots on goal.

….Alexei Emelin was unlucky on the winning goal. The puck ticked off his stick right to Zibanejad. In his first game back after missing six with that injury, he led the Canadiens with seven hits.


Is it all over?

Maybe. But remember, the Rangers had the worst home-ice record heading into the playoffs and the Canadiens won Game Three at Madison Square Garden.  Still, eighty-percent of teams that lose Game Five in a 2-2 series historically have gone on to lose the series. The optimists in the crowd might point to 2010 when they came back to win series against Boston and Pittsburgh to reach the Conference final. There’s always a chance, slim as it might be.

2 Comments to “AGAINST THE WALL – NY Rangers-3 Canadiens-2 (Overtime) April 20, 2017”

  1. Ned Stark says:

    Not much I can argue about the above Game 5 write-up except for the omission of the confusion inside the Habs blueline. Its been there all series. Guys running around, poor clearing attempts, Rangers left wide open while we over-cover the puck carrier, too many guys floating back into coverage, zone exit attempts in moving the puck out being repeatedly stopped by the Rangers catching the team off guard. They really look like the group that was out there while they were being coached by Therrien.
    The winning goal happened when Emelin failed to get the puck out of the zone cleanly on the first attempt. He was repeatedly doing that all game and it finally came back to haunt him. On the same play it was Max”s guy that scored! He coasted back into our zone on the paly and made no attempt to speed up and cover his man. Benn got for the 2nd or 3rd time in the series badly covering the front of the net….last game he watched Nash come right out and stuff it by him and Price, tonite he was facing the wrong way and not watching the puck”s path to the net.
    On whole our defense has started looking brutal out there……Weber’s lack of speed is really showing up in retrieving pucks…the Rangers are crowding him and its got him off his game. His partner Markov has looked shaky in our zone too! I sure hope that Bergevin is noting all of this because between the lack of Offense and the unsatisfactory play in our end……I still don’t understand with so many vets back there no one is speaking up with the poor coverage situations. In all honesty they should have buried us tonite with the wide open chances they got when we have 5 guys chasing the puck carrier leaving guys open time and again and no adjustments were made by JJ or Julien….why??????

    A good point was raised during the game about Max’x bad luck shooting ie. he’s getting a ton of shots but where are they coming from. Tonite he actually did get a shot from close in on that mini breakaway( I think he shot from too far out) but other than that far too many of his shots are way out on the perimeter and he’s not beating Lundquist from that far out.

    Well can they win 2 straight games with the MUST GAME in New York? I don’t think so…..the lack of goal scoring will be the prime reason + not finishing off the Rangers tonite when they had them on the ropes.

  2. Ian London says:

    Ned, Totally agree with you. But there’s always hope. We know what we’re doing wrong but we don’t fix it. I don’t get it. When we were being badly outplayed in OT, wasn’t that the time for CJ to call a time out, point out what we were doing wrong and get them back on track? That to me was a huge miss. The kind I expect from MT but not CJ. You could absolutely feel it coming. How many times in OT (or the series for that matter but certainly the past two games) did we have no push offensively and no exit out of our zone? And why all of a sudden can’t we stop them or atleast slow them down with their zone exits? All of the above has the same answer. We carry the puck too much instead of getting it out briskly tape-to-tape. Our exits are soft and often backwards. But NYR, they’re getting it done exactly the right way.

    I live on the west coast. We’ve had two wins when I’m in whistler. Three losses when I’m back in the city. Heading up tonight to whistler so we should be 3-3 coming back to Montreal for game 7. But don’t count on me boys. Do you want this thing or do you want to fizzle out?

    Time for Max & Chucky & Shaw to find the back of the net.

    As for the officials letting Gally and Shaw get beaten up, that’s SOP for the NHL. It’s pathetic. These two give everything they have and are battered all game long. I’m sure some of it is illegal. Maybe if they played for an american team they’d get the call. But the NHL doesn’t want a Canadian team to win the cup – bad for those big US TV ratings, eh?

    I still believe in you guys. Question is, do you believe in yourselves?


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