Fact is, the Canadiens again played well enough to win in Colorado Wednesday night win except one thing. They can’t score goals. Forty-three shots on goal and nothing. Zilch. Shut out!
Just another in a long string of losses on the road that dates back to before Christmas. If you’re counting, the Canadiens have now lost nine of their last ten road games. In those nine losses they have been shut out three times and been limited to one goal five times.
ON THE BLOCK
On a night when the Canadiens took 77 shots on Colorado, 43 of them on goal somehow Max Pacioretty was limited only one shot attempt and that one was blocked. His latest goalscoring slump is up to seven games after scoring eight goals in the nine prior games. Not something that’s moving up his deadline trade value.
Tomas Plekanec would like to stay in Montreal but he’s not likely to get his wish. Most think he’ll bring a second round draft choice at the deadline. Unlike Pacioretty, Plekanec didn’t hurt his trade value at all. Five shots on goal. He won 10 of 14 faceoff attempts. His line was once again the Canadiens best.
A month or so ago, I was thinking that the Canadiens would be better served moving Alex Galchenyuk. Marc Bergevin might have been been entertaining similar thoughts. There might now be a change of heart. Galchenyuk has a long way to go when it comes to his 200 foot game but inside the blue line he is looking like the player who scored 30 goals three years ago. Five shots on goal in this game.
It’s hard to criticize a power play that’s moved from 29th in the league to 9th in two months but the Canadiens seem to be falling into a familiar trap. Earlier penalty killers would key on Shea Weber because they knew eventually the puck would come to him for the big shot. Goaltenders were equally ready. Now it’s Galchenyuk from the right side faceoff dot. Every time Galchenyuk tried that one-time Varlamov was waiting for him. Other goaltenders are doing the same thing. A change-up is in order.
…..We’re used to seeing the Canadiens fourth line using their forecheck to put opponents in their own end. Not often roles are reversed but it happened in the second period when the Avalanched pinned Froese/Deslauriers and Shaw in their own end for 2 minutes 45 seconds. Through the sequence Colorado made three line changes while the Canadiens line plus Joe Morrow and Victor Mete were stuck on the ice and gassed. Give the Avalanche credit for their offense, but give that Canadiens unit credit for gutting it out.
….Jeff Petry’s ice time was 27:50, almost nine minutes more than his defense partner Karl Alzner.
….The Canadiens won 59% of the faceoffs. Even Jonathan Drouin was on the plus side, winning 8 of 14.
….Playing centre doesn’t suit Paul Byron. He’s been forced into it because of the Phillip Danault injury and has no goals and just 3 assists in his last ten games. His line managed one shot on goal in the game, that one taken by Artturi Lehkonen, who seemed to be pretty much on his own most of the night.
The Canadiens play their second game in 24 hours when they play the Coyotes Thursday night. The Coyotes who have solid hold on the number one spot in the draft lottery have suddenly picked up their game with back-to-back wins against Chicago and San Jose and a 3-0-1 record over their last four. All the Canadiens need at this point in time.