ONE FOR THE GOALTENDER – Canadiens-2 Chicago-0 (Nov. 5, 2017)

Nov 5th, 2017 | By | Category: Hockey-General News, Latest News

We all knew of the Canadiens weaknesses even before the season started. They were in need of help at centre ice, the defense was full of holes and special teams were messy. But at the end of it, everyone said goaltending would cover up all of those other sins.

Except it didn’t.  Goaltending became a bigger issue than all of the other things combined and two weeks past opening night the season appeared to be on it’s way into the tank.

Just when all seemed lost, along came Charlie Lindgren.

Making his fourth NHL start spread over three seasons, Lindgren calmly slammed the door on the Chicago Blackhawks ending a 15 year home ice win streak against the Canadiens.

For the first time in fifteen games, goaltending was a positive difference maker in a win.  And now the Canadiens, who lost seven of their first eight games, are winners of five of the last seven.

ONE FOR THE SCOUTING DEPARTMENT

Lindgren was undrafted and was an unrestricted free agent coming out of St. Cloud State. He was talked into signing with the Canadiens when management agreed to burn a year off his entry level contract by getting him into a game only weeks after he left school.  He beat Carolina in that NHL debut and last season won games against Florida and Detroit. And now he has his first NHL shutout.

Under what seemed, at least from sidelines as immense pressure t he made a couple of early saves against Patrick Kane, made four big saves on Jonathan Toews  and nailed down the shutout with a brilliant stop Richard Panik with ten seconds remaining. And he’s earned a curtain call Tuesday at the Bell Centre against Vegas.

NOT ALL ABOUT GOALTENDING

Good players playing well. That’s hockey’s traditional winning record.

Through most of October the Canadiens good players were playing badly. And now they’re not.

Max Pacioretty has always piled up shots, but the quality of his shots has improved which might be attributed to where he’s getting the puck from Phillip Danault and right wing Andrew Shaw.

BALANCE

And now the Canadiens have three lines that are contributing. Who predicted that?

After his stint in the fourth line doghouse, Alex Galchenyuk has resurfaced and started playng the way the Canadiens hoped he would when they took him third overall in the draft five years ago. Not only was he using his shot but there seems to be a recently unseen playmaking component to his game. Galchenyuk set up Drouin for what proved to be the game winning goal and seemed very much in control all night.

Add to that the third line where Tomas Plekanec’s legs seem to have found some frenewal  between the speedsters Brendan Gallagher and Paul Byron, especially Gallagher..

THE DEFENSE

It’s hard to criticize a defense backed up a shutout on the road against a Stanley Cup contender.

Claude Julien took time out to mention their play in his post game interview.
Shea Weber put in five seconds short of 28 minutes and Julien called him the defense”s “heart and soul”while mentioning he would still like to bring his minutes down.

Petry is “coming along”; Jordie Benn “much better” ; Alzner is starting to “adjust to the new system” and he even liked Joe Morrow who he says “moves the puck and defends well.” Not many share that opinion.

Julien is really managing Victor Mete carefully. He was given only 10:04 this game, the fewest minutes of his brief career. Morrow got more ice time.

MOVING ON

The Canadiens are home for the next two weeks and six games starting with Vegas Tuesday night, florida on Thursday and Buffalo Saturday. At 6-8-1 they’re not out of the woods yet but there a lot of good signs.

One Comment to “ONE FOR THE GOALTENDER – Canadiens-2 Chicago-0 (Nov. 5, 2017)”

  1. Ian London says:

    sorry to be a little negative but our exits for the first two periods was horrible. Seems for every 10 seconds we spent in the Chicago zone 5 of those were without the puck and Chicago would spend 60 seconds in our end creating scoring chances. then something happened for the 2nd game in a row – we were the better team in the 3rd period.

    our D still needs to be more assertive in all facets inside our blue line.

    and we still need Carey to play like Carey so whatever is bothering him he needs to figure it out. We can’t trade him cuz nobody will pick up his contact so he has to be the guy.

    But I like the lines now and think we should keep them together so they each form chemistry.

    If Carey does get back to form we will have goalie issue. Do we keep Charlie and try to trade Montoya and if we do what’s our asking price (no pun intended).

    this home stand is key to the season.

    oh yeah, nice job being asleep on the job MB when your biggest (geographical atleast) rival makes the deal to get Duschene.

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