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Tag: paul mara

GAME #33 – RESPECT YOUR OPPONENT – Detroit-2 Canadiens-1 (Dec. 15, 2019)

The Canadiens dropped a 2-1 decision to the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night in their final home game of the 2019 calendar year. It was the second time that the Canadiens had suffered a home-ice loss to the team that by every measurable category is the worst team in the NHL.

So far the fans have moderated their dismay at the way the Canadiens have performed at the Bell Centre. It won’t last if the type of effort shown Saturday night is not improved upon.

The Canadiens have lost eleven of their nineteen home games to date. Along with the two losses against the last place Red Wings, they have also lost twice to 30th ranked New Jersey at home and were also beaten by Ottawa (27th in the standings) and San Jose (25th).

A winning record at home is a prerequisite for nailing down a playoff berth. The Canadiens have a lot of work to do.

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GAME #32 – PRIMEAU STEPS IN – Canadiens-3 Ottawa-2 (Overtime) Dec. 11, 2019

It is a story in the moment that is worth repeating.

At the 2016 NHL entry draft Canadiens scouting director Trevor Timmins traded away his 2017 seventh round pick to the Winnipeg Jets so he could draft a 6’5” Swedish defenseman named Arvid Henrikson. As a result the Canadiens had no pick in the seventh and final round of the 2018 draft came around, the Canadiens had no draft pick and Timmins still had one name on his list. They traded their 2018 seventh round draft pick in return the 199th pick of 2017 and with it took a goaltender from the USHL junior league named Cayden Primeau.

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GAME #31 – DISCIPLINE ON THE ROAD – Canadiens-4 Pittsburgh-1 (Dec. 10, 2019)

Ask any NHL coach what the secret is to winning on the road, the first thing he will mention is ‘discipline’. There are other factors but without discipline almost every other contribution more often than not becomes incidental.

The Canadiens played an outstanding road game Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday night in Pittsburgh they outdid themselves.

The underlying statistics tell the story of the 4-1 Canadiens win.

According to NaturalStatTrick.com the Penguins took 60.4% of the game’s shooting attempts but the Canadiens dominated high danger scoring chances 11-5 including 10-1 through the first two periods as the Canadiens were mounting a 3-1 lead.

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GAME #30 – A CLASSIC ROAD WIN – Canadiens-2 NY Rangers-1 (Dec. 6, 2019)

Funny how it goes sometimes.  The Thursday loss against Colorado was their ninth in ten games.  With that record only the most cockeyed of optimists would even entertain the idea of a Montreal playoff berth in the spring.  Twenty four hours later the Canadiens came up with a near perfect road game in edging the New York Rangers 2-1. 

Here’s where it really gets strange. The victory moved the Canadiens into second place in the Atlantic Division behind only the Boston Bruins.  There are teams around them that carry games in hand but the fact they are even close after all of their November struggles is truly remarkable and hardly credit to the rest of the division which was supposed to be the strongest in the entire league.

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GAME #29 – MENTALLY UNPREPARED – Colorado-3 Canadiens-2 (Dec. 5, 2019)

The winning streak lasted one game.  And now the tally is nine losses the last ten games.   

With no wriggle room the rest of the season, the Canadiens cannot enter games mentally unprepared to compete the way their were at home against the Colorado Avalanche Thursday night.

They were beaten badly in the first period and were only slightly better the first half of the second period.  By then a very good Colorado team had put the Canadiens in a 0-3 hole.  A big third period effort against a tiring team that had played the night before in Toronto closed the gap but a three-goal deficit was too much to overcome.  

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