CAN’T FINISH – Tampa Bay-3 Canadiens-1 (Dec. 28, 2017)

Dec 29th, 2017 | By | Category: Latest News

Face it, for any number of reasons, the Canadiens aren’t a very creative hockey club. That fact was again on full display Thursday night at Tampa Bay.

On the face of it, the Canadiens were good through the first two periods in this game. Well, maybe with the exception of the final 15 seconds.

After a shaky first eight minutes they played the Lightning even the rest of the first forty minutes.

But there was one huge difference. While scoring chances were pretty even at 16-15 through those two periods, the grade-A high danger scoring chances were 9-5 in favour of the Lightning and Carey Price was again the only reason it was 1-1 after two.

The Lightning manage the puck well. It comes with having playmaking centres in their lineup such as Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. The Canadiens don’t have that luxury.  Far from it.  By the end of the game, according to naturalstattrick.com, high danger scoring chances were 12-6 for the Lightning.

Not even Carey Price, as good as he was again in this game, was able to survive that.

After five and half years as Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has built a gritty hardworking team with little creativity. The price for that is a record of five wins and 14 losses against opponents with a winning record.

STANDS ALONE

It has been too often said that the Canadiens would always be competitive and be in the playoffs as long as Carey Price was in goal. It might be true if the Canadiens were to be capable of supplying even  barely adequate offense to back his efforts.   Of course they’re not.  Over Price’s last 13 starts his teammates have scored an average of 1.8 goals a game to back him up.  Even the anemic help he’s managed to produce a 6-6-1 record.  Subtract the seven goals they scored in Vancouver two weeks ago to start the road trip and ithe support drops to 1.5 per game.

WILL IT LAST?

We’ve seen Alex Galchenyuk put together two or three games in a row where he looks like the player the Cnadiens  thought they were getting when he was taken third overall in the 2012 draft and then he’s slipped right back into what are old habits. . For his second straight game Galchenyuk was driving the net with force and taking ownership of the game. He produced a team leading five shots on goal and was, by far the Canadiens best forward.

NEW LINEMATES

Canadiens coaching and management is determined to move the deck chairs around for the rest of the season in an effort to make Jonathan Drouin the centreman he is not. This time they gave him Galchenyuk and Artturi Lehkonen and the three of them created a lot of offensive zone time with a total of eleven shots on goal. Most of what I saw from the line was the result of individual effort rather than slick playmaking. but they were the Canadiens best line. Drouin was only allowed to take seven faceoffs. He lost five of them and finished at 29%.

AWOL

Where in the world is Max Pacioretty?  It’s become a tiresome nightly question. They moved him away from Drouin again because there was no chemistry. With his game in it’s current state, it’s becoming a apparent that Pacioretty has no chemistry with anyone he plays with. He was with Danault and Shaw for this game. for the fourth consecutive game, the best he could muster was one shot on goal.   And now it’s one goal in his last twenty games and none in the entire month of December.

I have trouble believing he’s trying to force a trade but something isn’t right with him.

BLUELINERS

For the most part I liked the way the defense played in this game, certainly for the first two period.   Jeff Petry continues to do heroic work replacing the injured Shea Weber.  He logged 28:59 against the Lightning.  The third pairing of Jakub Jerabek and Brett Lernout showed great improvement and were rewarded with over 13 minutes ice tme.

There were glitches of course. Karl Alzner wound up chasing Nikita Kucherov all the way into the corner with seconds left in the second period. Kucherov let a nice backhand pass right on the tape for Stamkos who was alone to tie the game 1-1 with 12 seconds left in the second period. Then 30 seconds into the third both Alzner and Petry found themselves behind the net during a goalmouth scramble and Braydon Point scored the game winner.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….Galchenyuk led the Canadiens with a total of nine shot attempts – five on goal.

….Lernout led the defense with 3 hits. Nicolas Deslauriers also had three.

….Although we see him constantly complaining when he’s kicked out of the faceoff circle, Tomas Plekanec seems to have benefited from the tougher new faceoff rules. He won 58% – 11 of 19.

MOVING ON

The Canadiens will play the Panthers in Sunrise Florida on Saturday night to complete the seven game road trip which is already guaranteed to be a loser. The Panthers have won four in a row now and with their Thursday night 3-2 victory over the Flyers jumped them over the Canadiens into fourth place in the Atlantic Division and they hold a game in hand.  After that the Canadiens start the new year next Tuesday with the first of five straight at home.

 

 

 

One Comment to “CAN’T FINISH – Tampa Bay-3 Canadiens-1 (Dec. 28, 2017)”

  1. Ian London says:

    Ok I’m no GM genius like MB but it seems to me that the $25 million he’s given to a slow, defense challenged D-man (Alzner in case you’re not sure who I am referring to) instead of what Markhov/Radulov were seeking just doesn’t add up. This guy is on the ice for so many goals against. he’s no way worth $5million/year.

    think about it:
    trades Nate for Buffalo 3rd round pick? can’t wait to see how that pans out
    rejects Rads and Markhov who are both doing far better than what we have replaced them with
    and then there’s trading Sergachev for Drouin and you take JD off the wing where he excels and put him at centre. I could have made a better deal for Drouin w/o giving up the last puck moving defenseman we have.

    Bottom line: MB has year after year weakened us and Molson does nothing.

    I’ve been a Habs fan >55 years and I have never seen a more rudderless Habs team than this mess.

    Meanwhile, Max is a vegan (and I have no problem with his personal choice) but since he has made this decision he has become ultra soft and incapable of doing his job. MB will be forced to trade him and we’ll get nothing for him just like we got nothing for Nate, Rads and Marky.

    Mr Molson: if you care anything for this club get rid of Bergevin before he does any more damage. Please.

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