GOALTENDING ISSUES – Washington-6 Canadiens-4 (March 24, 2018)

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

Anyone with an ounce of hockey sense knows the Canadiens have a big problem at the centre ice position. We’ve known that since training camp.

But what about goaltending?

Carey Price let in four goals on 14 shots to start the game against the Washington Capitals en route to that ugly 6-4 loss at the Bell Centre. In his 45 starts this season he’s given up four or more goals 17 times including 8 times when it’s been five or more.

I don’t care how bad the defence is, this is not for whatever reason, major league goal tending.

DECISIONS. DECISIONS.

Which brings us to the decisions the Canadiens have to make on July first when Price enters the first year of his 10-million dollar a year contract.

Are the Canadiens prepared to load up their egg-basket with Charlie Lindgren as their backup with a chance that he might be their starter for stretchs of next season or, are they going to have flashbacks to three seasons ago when the Canadiens had to depend on an equally untested  Mike Condon and watched their season die a horrible death as a result.

INJURY ISSUES

The problem is, Carey Price has recently been injury prone. The knee problems of three seasons ago. This season the chronic fatigue-syndrome and the concusssion. Price has missed 92 of the Canadiens last 246 games because of issues of one sort or the other.

As insurance this sort of thing is not chronic, the Canadiens need a qualified NHL back-up.

And, I’m sorry but heir apparent Charlie Lindgren’s erratic play not only in the NHL but also this season with AHL-Laval  has not yet qualified him to be a go-to goaltender if Price were to go down again.

So what’s it to be?  The Canadiens are given a choice betrween Lindgren or Antii Niemi, a former Stanley Cup winner who, right now is a better goaltender than both Price and Lindgren.

Marc Bergevin doesn’t have a lot of wriggle room left as Canadiens general manager.  Make a mistake on this one and, if he’s not already at the end of his rope, this may be a career ender.

HIDDEN GEM

The Canadiens have been legitimately criticized for some of their late first round draft choices. Hello, Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu and Mike McCarron. But when Trevor Timmins admitedly took a flyer on Nikita Scherbak 26th overall in 2014,  he may have found a gem.

There’s still a lot of room for growth, but those moves he put on the experienced Washington defence halfway through the first period tell me that Scherbak is going to be a keeper.  He’s showing skills that can’t be taught.

You could argue that the Scherbak/Logan Shaw/Charles Hudon line was the Canadiens best on the night.  I wouldn’t dispute that and Shaw isn’t even a natural centre.   Hudon scored twice.

GAINING RESPECT

….Another good game from Jacob de la Rose, his third in a row. I still cannot imagine him as a top six forward, but one has to think that the way he’s playing right now makes the idea of re-signing Tomas Plekanec in July may not as good an idea as we thought.  Would he then make a young player like de la Rose expendible?  Doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

It was de la Rose’s forecheck that created Galchenyuk’s opening goal.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….Brendan Gallagher scored twice. They took one of them away because of an off-side. He scored the game’s last goal on a power play.  He now has 28.  Getting two more to reach the 30-goal plateau is one of the few things left to cheer for in the remaining six games.

….This was tenth time in 76 games the Canadiens gave up 6 goals or more.

….Hudon led the team with four shots on goal. Galchenyuk and Gallagher with three apiece.

….Michael McCarron recorded seven hits. Other than that…not much.

….After a lot of recent success, Jonathan Drouin lost more faceoffs than he lost – 6 of 16 attempts for 38%. Logan Shaw, who is not a centre by definition won 11 of 17 for 68%.

MOVING ON

The race to the basement continues. The Canadien host Detroit on Monday night. The 27th place Canadiens vs. the 26th Red Wings. The Canadiens lead the Wings by a point with a game in hand. After that it’s back to Pittsburgh Saturday and at New Jersey Sunday.

Only six games left. Can’t finish soon enough.

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