GAME #13 – Offensive Blackout – Tampa Bay-4 Canadiens-1 (Nov. 3, 2018)

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

Much is being made of the fact that the Canadiens are one of a handful of teams that have not lost two games in a row this season. It’s nice that they have bounced back after losses, but there’s a harsher reality.

The Canadiens have lost two of their last three, both of them on home ice. Since their 4-1-2 start the Canadiens over the last six games have been in a win-one lose-one pattern – 3-3-0.   That’s .500 hockey and it won’t get you in the playoffs.

After what we saw last season it’s difficult to complain. The Canadiens have shown signs of being capable of lifting fans out of their seats with their speed and they have shocked some pretty good teams including Pittsburgh twice, Boston and Washington.

Still, after watching the Tampa game Saturday night, one gets the feeling that a playoff berth may still be a hit-and-miss proposition.

SNIPERS

The shots on goal were 35-35. The Canadiens had fourteen high danger scoring chances to nine for Tampa.

And there’s the rub. The Lightning scored four goals on their nine grade-A chances; the Canadiens one on fourteen. Eight of those chances came in the second period and the Canadiens failed to score. Montreal just doesn’t have the natural goalscoring talent of Tampa.  At least not yet.  Those two goals by Steven Stamkos bear witness to that.

I can find no fault with the Pacioretty trade but the team misses his quick-strike ability, or at least the one he possessed as late as two seasons ago.

GAME CHANGER

There has been lot of discussion about that game-changing boarding penalty to Nicolas Deslauriers in the 12th minute of the first period.

There was a time, and it wasn’t so long ago, that it was the responsibility of the defenceman, in this case Ryan McDonagh, to protect himself from the inevitability of the hit Deslauriers delivered while he was releasing the puck deep in his own zone. Back then, Deslauriers would be legitimately finishing his check.

But we’re in the era of increased awareness of concussion vulnerability. So he Deslauriers was flagged.

Makes one wonder what the future holds for players like Deslauriers who’s main talent lies in the physical side of the game.

THE FOURTH LINE

And that brings us to that fourth line. Claude Julien clearly doesn’t have much confidence in the trio as currently constituted.

Ideally you’d like to see a fourth line log something in the neighbourhood of twelve or thirteen minutes a game.  Matthew Peca is the current centre. He was not very good and Julien limited him to only eleven shifts and a season low 7:47 ice time. Deslauriers got 9:43. Andrew Shaw‘s ice time was inflated by his work on special teams which took care of just over six of his 15 total minutes.

Plekanec is on his way back which could make an immense difference. It may be a one-time deal, but I liked Peca on the wing with Plekanec.

MAN ADVANTAGE

It’s been six games since the Canadiens scored their last power play goal.  Since October 23rd against Calgary the Canadiens are 0-for-15.

For the most part the Canadiens move the puck around a lot with the man-advantage but without shooters there’s no finish.

The Canadiens had eight minutes of PP time against Tampa (0-for-4). Andrew Shaw was on the ice for more than half of that – 4:16. Not sure that’s the ultimate path to power play success.

In this area little has changed since last year. The PP ranks 22nd in the league at 14.3%.  The penalty killing isn’t much better.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….If you’re looking for a positive sign it’s the Canadiens return to their form of the first ten minutes of the game in the second period. Their hard work didn’t pay off in a goal and that Stamkos goal in the first minute of the third period was the backbreaker.

….It was Phillip Danault‘s flubbed pass and turnover that lead to the J.T. Miller‘s game-winning goal. Despite that, Danault’s line was the Canadiens best. Gallagher played his usual relentless game and Tatar continues to be a perfect fit.

….Good to see Kotkaniemi shooting the puck more. The Finn line with Armia and Lehkonen looked all right although looking for offense Julien had Kotkaniemi up on a line with Drouin and Domi in the third period.  Not sure that Lehkonen will live up to the offensive promise of his rookie season.  Armia produces a lot of shots but not much on the scoreboard.  But that’s been his history.

….Another one of those indifferent games from Jonathan Drouin. He was on the ice for the last three Tampa goals. He still wound up with five shots on goal, a deceptive stat to say the least.

….Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 34 of 35 shots for the win but I can’t remember any time he faced the type of shot that Carey Price had to deal with on the Stamkos and J.T. Miller goals.

MOVING ON

The first back-to-back games of the season in the New York area Monday and Tuesday. Monday in Brooklyn against the Islanders; Tuesday the Rangers at the Garden. Then home to Buffalo and Vegas before the annual Western Canadien swing November 13th to 17th.

One Comment to “GAME #13 – Offensive Blackout – Tampa Bay-4 Canadiens-1 (Nov. 3, 2018)”

  1. Ned Stark, Warden of the North says:

    Yes it was quite clear to see the lack of finishing talent on the Habs as compared to that off the TB Lightening. This difference rests squarely on the shoulders of one Marc Bergevin, InCompetent GM of the Habs. Yes getting all those super guys with “Karacter” is really paying dividends isn’t it? Unfortunately “Karacter” doesn’t equate to goal scoring. Instead we haave a team made up with a lot of Plumbers.

    Solutions:

    1) 4th line lack of scoring? Put Drouin there! Anywhere on that line. He could do with a lot more reduced Ice Time. Currently he’s wasting the time he gets on his regular line and on the PP. He is the Team’s Softest player by a wide margin over Youupi!! For a game like Saturday he should have been ramped right up facing his old team. Instead he skated away from the play. When he did put on some speed as soon as he was confronted he went sideways to the boards and gave the puck away. Each game played only enhances the fact that Bergy got fleeced by Stevie Y on that trade. Sergatchev is growing his game on the 3rd pairing. Last year at the end of the year Presser Bergy stated that Drouin had a tough season getting into the groove as the Team’s #1 Centre because he had to adjust to being back in Montreal and dealing with the French Press. At last week’s presser where Bergy patted himself on the backfor all the great work he has done he was quiet about Drouin and his struggles. He had told everyone that having his former junior coach on the bench would bring the best out in him. Well so far= Epic Fail!! Bergy not only made a bad trade but he compounded it by overpaying/terming the fat contract he gave Drouin. Its pretty much another untradeable contract on this team……like Shaw’s and Alzner’s and Schlemko’s and on it goes. But i’m sure when Bergy does speak of Drouin and his lack of production he will let everyone know that his struggles are due to DST. Yes returning to Montreal and having to cope with Daylight Savings Time is playing havoc on young Drouin. The jet lag effects are wearing him ddown……..OMG!!!!!!

    When is Julien going to get off his duff and do something about this? Make him a healthy scratch for a week and see if that gets his attention. Im sure his linemates are pissed with his lack of effort. If you noticed the goal Saturday by Domi…Drouin wasn’t on the ice. He baled early hen the puck was going into the TB zone. He instead of joining his linemates headed to the bench….guess he was suffering from early on set of DST.

    Suggestion for Luke Richrdson: Please, please get Jeff Petry to change the lie on his hockey stick. Ive never seen a guy more snake bitten in trying to get his shot on the net. The back boards are taking a terrible beating from all of his wild shots!!

    Bergy get off your fat duff and go speak to your next French Superstar in any language aand implore him to get his shit together and actually try to play hockey the way he can or send him to see Dr. Bouchard in Laval. He wont take any of that shit that hes getting away with in Montreaal!!!!!!!!!!!!

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