You have to hand it to the Canadiens. Saturday night’s game against the Bruins was their second in 24 hours, their third game in four nights and their fifth in eight nights. And unlike in Boston on Wednesday, the Canadiens showed up and worked hard for sixty minutes.
There are nights when a team can win on hard work alone even against a more-talented team. It happened Friday night inWashington when the Capitals effort was less than complete. But the Bruins weren’t in the mood to take the night off on this night.
Talent became the difference maker and the Bruins have a ton of it this season.
We hear the word “chemistry” a lot these days in Montreal. Looking at this season’s Bruins one realizes just how little of it exists with the Canadiens. There is nothing in Montreal that closely resembles the way Boston moves the puck. This is not a coaching issue. This comes down to talent, or a lack of the right kind of talent.
A LITTLE HELP
The injuries to Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw left Claude Julien with few options at centre ice. Jonathan Drouin went back to centre and Paul Byron became centre for Max Pacioretty and Charles Hudon. While Drouin has been the same-old, Byron has quickly taken to centre ice. You can do a lot of things with speed at the centre ice position and Byron was the Canadiens best forward. Backchecking he stripped the puck from Charlie McAvoy turned back and set up Pacioretty for the Canadiens only goal. His speed nearly created a second goal for the captain in the third period but Pacioretty fanned on Byron’s pass.
OUT OF THE WOODS
Seven goals in his last seven games. I guess that means Max Pacioretty’s scoring slump has ended. At least for now. Pacioretty’s goal was another one of those quick accurate shots for which he’s famous when the puck is going in the net for him. Interesting that it was his only shot on goal in the game. More interesting, he led the Canadiens with seven hits.
The only way the Canadiens can win a game of this nature is to have an other-worldly performance form their goaltender. Carey Price wasn’t other-worldly in this one. Price put David Pastrnak’s goalmouth pass into his own net off his skate and he seemed to lose track of things as Torey Krug scored what turned out to be the game winner 1:47 later. With the Canadiens offense in it’s current state, possiblity of letting their goaltender off the hook is somewhere between slim and nil.
ALSO WORTH MENTIONING
…..Another good night from Victor Mete who continues to avoid overthinking and use his instincts. Mostly his instincts are right on
…..It would be mentionable if Brendan Gallagher didn’t have one of his all-out nights. He led the team with four shots on goal.
…..Both Jonathan Drouin and Alex Galchenyuk have a lot of spectacular individual moves, But they never seemed to be on the same page. In this game, Galchenyuk had one shot on goal; Drouin – none.
Two more games before the All-Star break. Colorado on Tuesday and Carolina on Thursday. With 35 games remaining on the schedule the Canadiens are nine points and six teams away from the Eastern Conference’s second wild card berth. For those who think there’s still a playoff chance consider this; if the Eastern Conference playoff cutoff point is 95 points the Canadiens would have to go 25-10-0 down the stretch.