OFFENSE RULES – Tampa Bay-4 Canadiens-3 (shootout) Feb. 24, 2018

Feb 25th, 2018 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

A game like this one makes one yearn for the days before NHLcoaches sucked the life out the offensive side of hockey.

According to naturalstattrick.com the Canadiens/Lightning game produced 75 scoring chances; 34 of them rated as high-danger chances. As one could reasonable expect, Tampa Bay had a considerable lead in both categories. But, playing without their superstar goaltender, their All-Star defenseman and their senior forward, they managed to push the Lightning into overtime and then the shootout, simply because their work ethic overcame Tampa talent.

In front of their own fans they’ve been doing that a lot in recent days.

On the road of course, it’s a different scenario.

 

NO CONFIDENCE

Only a sports psychologist can tell us what to make of Max Pacioretty’s state-of-mind. His second point of night was the power play goal that ended one of his interminable scoring droughts. He gave himself chances to build on it and simply screwed it up. Seconds after he scored his goal, Mikhail Sergachev turned it over to him inside his own blueline and instead of using his shot, he tried to get fancy. Then he had a breakaway and missed the net. And maybe that same psychologist can tell me what he was thinking on that overtime breakaway where he didn’t even get a shot away. What a mess his season has been. We’ve been hearing reports for a couple of months now that Pacioretty wants out. I don’t think it’s going to happen by Monday, but it’s better than even money that he’ll get his wish in June.

THE DEADLINE

This was the Canadiens final game before the Monday 3.00pm trade deadline. Tomas Plekanec wasn’t dressed for this game so we know what that means. There are those Pacioretty rumours. I think there’s a pretty good chance that one or even two of the defensemen are going to be gone.

But how about Antti Niemi, who has rebuilt his reputation since coming to the Canadiens off the waiver wire in November?  Niemi has been great his last two games. There are two or three teams heading for the playoffs who could do with some goaltending insurance. In the overtme Niemi stood alone stopping 6 of the 39 shots he faced in the game.

THE ROOKIES

We’ll be getting a good look at the Canadiens future defense over the next six weeks. Outside of Jeff Petry, the Canadiens two best defensemen in the game were a 19 and a 20 year old. Victor Mete and Noah Juulsen weren’t facing a messed up team like the Rangers this time around. Against Stamkos, Kucherov, Point and company they carried on. No glaring issues at all.

Juulsen led the Canadiens in even strength ice time at 18:41. He also logged 2:21 killing penalties.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….Seems like every game, Charles Hudon gets a little better. He hasn’t found his scoring touch yet but I have no doubt it will come. He drew first assist on the Canadiens goal and now has a four game points streak. .

….Daniel Carr also had a pretty good night.

….If we were to judge the Drouin/Sergachev trade on what was seen on this night it would be easy to say that Marc Bergevin had been taken to the cleaners once again. Sergachev was very much in evidence while Drouin was barely visible. But we have been a little too quick to judge Alex Galchenyuk and his game has rounded into form over the last two months.

….There is no ceiling on Brendan Gallagher’s competitiveness. What in the world was he thinking when he started a fight with 6’6” Victor Hedman? Gallagher led the Canadiens with six shots on goal. He also won five of six faceoffs.

….Jeff Petry led the Canadiens in total ice time at 24:52. Danault won 15 of 22 faceoffs.

….Jacob de la Rose led the Canadiens with six hits, but I still have my doubts that he’ll ever be anything but a fringer NHLer.

MOVING ON

The trade deadline is 3.00 Monday. How will the Canadiens roster look 4 ½ hours later when they take the ice against Philadelphia? After the Flyers Monday night they’ll wrap up the home stand againsst the Islanders Wednesday before they start a six game road trip with back to back games against the Islanders and Boston Friday and Saturday.

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