Now it’s the offense.
After being blanked by the Rangers Sunday night, the Canadiens now have three goals to show in three games. They have played just under 139 minutes five-on-five and have one goal to show for it. The other two were scored while the Canadiens were killing off penalties.
It’s not like we haven’t seen this sort of thing before. The Canadiens trademark over the last decade has been weak offense but strong defence. The issue now seems to be weak offense and questionable defense and that can be a fatal problem if it isn’t addressed.
Against the Rangers, the Canadiens defence did show some improvement. It had to. It couldn’t have been worse than it was in Washington Saturday. Still i was far short or where we would want it to be. Again too many odd man rushes and the Rangers clinching goal was a dog’s breakfast of miscommunication.
No offense tends to put pressure on team defenses and the presently constructed Canadiens defense doesn’t seem capable of handling it.
The Canadiens had the Rangers pinned in their own end for the first twelve minutes. They put the puck in the net twice thanks to goalmouth presence. Unfortunately too much presence. Both goals were called back and legitimately so. The failure to get the early lead took some of the air out of the Canadiens game and allowed the Rangers to regroup. It’s that way when a team can’t produce.
The ever-present danger at this time of the year is becoming too emotional about team performance. The Canadiens defense seems confused at times, which may be the result of the new system that Claude Julien has put in.
The top two lines haven’t scored but they have had some good moments. The Drouin/Pacioretty/Gallagher line wasn’t much in this game. Drouin screwed up badly on the what turned out to be the Rangers second goal, but I fully expect the line will have a breakout night before long.
Meanwhile Plekanec/Lehkonen/Hudon were terrific at both ends of the ice for the third straight game. .
THE DEAD SPOT
And that leaves the third line which is becoming the team’s albatross and a continuing drama.
What role does Alex Galchenyuk have on this team. Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw are a nice combination of defense and some offense. Galchenyuk’s defensive game is a mess and offensively he still tries to do everything on his own. It looks another long season trying to figure out what to do with him.
Victor Mete was back with Shea Weber and they were fine.
Not much to say about the other four except I thought Jeff Petry had a better night than he had in both Buffalo and Washington but he and Karl Alzner were on the ice for both Ranger goals. Brandon Davidson was a marked improvement on Mark Streit but like the rest of them, he was clearing a low bar..
MOVING ON –
The Canadiens come off the road for two at the Bell Centre; Chicago Tuesday night and then the Leafs on Saturday. They need a couple of wins because right after that they head for that California graveyard for three games and the team doesn’t want to be playing the way they started the season out there.