FRUSTRATED AGAIN – Winnipeg-5 Canadiens-4 (overtime) April 3, 2018

Apr 4th, 2018 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

For the first two periods Tuesday night Canadiens versus Jets had the look of one of those pre-season exhibition game with neither team having any idea what they were supposed to be doing.

The Jets had decided to rest some of their best players and the Canadiens were what they’ve been all year; injured and disorganized.

Winnipeg took advantage of Canadiens blunders to take a 3-0 lead. but  things changed with a minute left in the second period when Artturi Lehkonen, who was one of the few who had his stuff together, rifled home a loose puck to make it 3-1.

In the third period the Canadiens were a different team while the Jets kept playing like a team that has nothing left to accomplish in the season’s remaining games.   The Canadiens came back to tie it; twenty-four seconds later lost the lead again; tied it again and then lost the game 5-4 in overtime.  Another path to what was their 52nd loss of the season.

EASING THE WORKLOAD

As the schedule entered the month of March it was becoming clear that Jeff Petry had hit the wall. After carrying an unaccustomed heavy load after Shea Weber went down and weariness was showing.

The coaching staff reduced his ice time from what as a nightly 25-plus minutes to something in the neighbourhood of 22 minutes.  There had been signs that his energy was returned the last four games.  In this game he was dominant.  The jump to his game  that was missing was back and it showed on the scoresheet .  He finished with four shots on goal and two assists.  It gives him 6 points his last five games.

RE-SURFACING

What with the injuries and sophomore season struggles, this has not been a pleasant six months for Artturi Lehkonen.

In most of his first 63 games, Lehkonen was out of synch.  Not in this game. His quickness on that loose puck that produced the Canadiens first goal was just one example how often he was around the puck in this game.  He also had four shots on goal.

USUAL SUSPECTS

Prior to the game Paul Byron was awarded the Jacques Beauchamp “unsung” player award. Byron then became only the second member of the Canadiens to score his 20th goal of the season. This was a really good night for Byron and linemates Jonathan Drouin and Brendan Gallagher. The line produced 12 shots on goal.  I’m reminded of an old Broadway song titled “You Gotta Have Heart”.  The only 20 goals corers on the Canadiens are their two smallest forwards, Byron and Gallagher.

ALSO WORTH NOTING

….Alex Galchenyuk continues to be the one to watch. Goal and assist in this game. 3 goals, 8 assists in his last 11 games. Who says he’s not a playmaker?

….With Jacob de la Rose starting to show some promise, I wonder whether there is any sense bringing Tomas Plekanec back to Montreal. I can’t imagine him being an offensive force but there seems to be a role for him as a bottom-6 forward. De la Rose won 15 of 20 faceoffs.

….Carey Price gave up five goals which isn’t good.  Price has to take some responsibility for his terrible numbers this season  but, like so may of his games this season, his defence didn’t help him on four of the five Winnipeg goals.

FEELING THE DRAFT

This really was a strange night.

While the Canadien picked up a loser point versus Winnipeg, the other bottom feeders also picked up points. Arizona beat Calgary, Vancouver lost in a shootout and Detroit suffered an overtime loss.

Somehow through all of this the Canadiens find themselves dropping down to 29th in the overall standings – in other words, third in the draft lottery. They’re in third place because of a difference of one win in the tiebreaking  ROW column (regulation overtime wins) vs. Arizona who, because of their win is now fourth.

If the Canadiens remain third from the bottom they could finish no worse than 6th in the draft but it also increases their odds of taking the first choice to 11.5% and retaining a top-three choice to 33.9%.

 

MOVING ON

Two  games left in the season, both of them on the road. In Detroit on Thursday and Toronto on Saturday.

Detroit currently is sixth in the draft lottery, with three points more than the Canadiens, also with two games remaining.

2 Comments to “FRUSTRATED AGAIN – Winnipeg-5 Canadiens-4 (overtime) April 3, 2018”

  1. Ned Stark says:

    Thank God only 2 games left and both on the road where hopefully we won’t disappoint ourselves and just get smoked so we can put a cap on this nightmare of a season. Then we have to sit back for the next 100 or so days and await the unveiling of the Bergevin Plan. You know the one where he trades away our good players and our top draft pics for broken down has beens that the game has passed by BUT they still have the 2 most important things Bergy values. Character and “da grit”. Once he unloads our Top draft pick #1 overall to the Isles to get the rights to Tavares. Isles start a new dynasty with the Dahlen pick. Meanwhile in MTL Tavares rejects all overtures from Bergy and promptly signs in Carolina. In a panic to get his plan back on track Bergy spends the team’s entire cap on Joe Thornton. Who promptly retires 8 minutes later. Bettman rules the contract valid and the HABS are on the hook for $13 million dollars for the next 7 yrs. At the press conference Bergy explains that at least he tried to do something which is more than what the entire did all season. Molson tells the French Press that he still has faith and trusts Bergy. He explains that what happened to Bergy were just one offs and he’s sure that this is still fixable. Price and Weber who are in attendance promptly announce their retirements to the English Press. The rest of the team calls Molson and ask to be traded or they will retire like Price and Weber did. Bergy appears unfazed as he continues to work on The Plan – version 9.

  2. david deVries says:

    Thanks Ron for your pre-game blog and post game analysis for the season.
    I have enjoyed your work and appreciate all you have done.
    Two more games to go of a most disappointing season.
    Lets hope things improve next season.
    Keep up the good work. Your blog on the team is the best.

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