I have to quickly speak about the game last night. I think we saw a team that is good enough to win when it doesn’t play its best. I saw a team that has so much scoring depth that they have a top 9 better than most team’s top 6. The Flyers are legit. The knock has always been goaltending for them, and now that they have Boucher and Bob going nuts keeping pucks out of the net, there is really no holes in the armour. They can be beaten – anyone in the NHL is vulnerable with the league wide parity – but you have to be at your best.
The Canadiens were not at their best last night. They had plenty of puck possession, loads of shots, and much quicker feet than their opponents. But the Montreal Canadiens are not a team that can easily overcome the bad play of certain players on the team. If Price isn’t at his best – the Habs are in trouble. If the top 6 doesn’t score, we’re in trouble. If our defenders cause turnovers, were in big trouble. Last night had elements of each. The defense caused way too many turnovers. Price didn’t bail the team out. In fact, he probably had his worst game of the year (which says a lot considering he wasn’t THAT bad). The offense scored some timely goals, but took a long time to get there.
There was a lot of bad to look at. PK turned the puck over which ended in 2 goals – not that the rest of the team couldn’t have helped. His partner Alex Picard played his worst game as a Hab. Hal Gill was fairly brutal. AK46 looked at times utterly confused, coughing up pucks that he usually wouldn’t – and missing a wide-open net near the end of the game.
Still, with a game to play tonight against a determined Bruins squad, its better to look at what the Habs did well. Max Pac was absolutely what the Habs needed last night – evidenced best by the first Canadiens goal – with Patches screening the goalie while PK’s shot found twine. I thought there was good flow to the offense, with smooth transitions – especially in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Benoit Pouliot, Plex, Gionta, and even Gomez had solid games.
The Habs have to have a short memory. For the first time this season they have lost 3 consecutive games in regulation. A win tonight will reset the clock and keep the hungry Bruins behind us in the standings. A loss will add another to the streak – right before an extended road swing. Tonight, the Habs need a 60 minute effort. We need to cut down on the turnovers, and keep the offensive pressure high. The Bruins are a great defensive team – it won’t be easy.
Go Habs Go!!!