Maybe it was expecting too much to think the Habs would continue to build momentum off a suddenly productive power play, let alone win their 7th straight game on the road, especially after travelling from Ohio to Ottawa. But was it expecting too much for them to just show up to play at 7:35?
- Max Pacioretty. Ho hum. Again tried to lead by example. Stretched his consecutive goal scoring streak to 6 games. Took puck hard to the net to almost score another. Five shots on goal. The Habs best skater this season was ready to play – on time.
- Sergei Gonchar & Nathan Beaulieu. Easily Habs best D pair. Habs PP again looked better with Gonchar on the point more often (4:04). Beaulieu was robbed of his first goal of the season by a very solid Craig Anderson. It’s Beaulieu’s emergence that Mark Tinordi was no doubt referencing to Tony Marinaro when he more or less suggested that his son Jarred – as a restricted free agent at the end of the season – has to think about his future in the Habs organization.
- Dustin Tokarski. A few too many rebounds but made enough high quality saves to keep his team in the game. Tokarski deserves at least a little more support. The Habs average less than 1.5 goals per game in front of him.
- Brendan Gallagher. Had an awful first 40 minutes. Couldn’t keep the puck on his stick. Had a chance to clear the zone on three separate occasions before Jean Gabriel Pageau broke a 1-1 tie late in the first period, less than two minutes after he set up Pacioretty’s 21st goal of the season. Big push in the third.
- Thomas Plekanec. In an ornery mood all night. Two penalties in the first period including an offensive zone slash. Too many lost draws later in the game. Frustrating night – was slapped with a misconduct penalty after Eric Condra’s empty netter.
- Alex Galchenyuk. One of seven Montreal forwards with no shots on goal. Has fallen into David Desharnais mode – he won’t shoot. The Habs need him to shoot the puck. His shooting percentage is nearly 12% yet he averages less than two shots on goal per game. He also has to learn to keep his head up. It’s becoming an almost nightly ritual to see Galchenyuk flattened in the offensive zone – this time by Bobby Ryan. Lost all six of his draws. Hasn’t scored in nine games. He’s learning to play centre in the NHL. But in the meantime the Habs need him to provide more offense.
- P.A. Parenteau. His first game back was uneventful save for a bad Benoit Pouliot type offensive zone penalty late in the third period. Hasn’t scored in 16 games.
- Lars Eller. Nothing says Lars Eller better when he isn’t going well than his play in the third period when he had a clear lane to the net but decided to pass the puck – right into Eric Karlsson. Has scored just one goal in his last 13 games. Won 23% of his face offs.
- David Desharnais. Will Desharnais as a LW last much longer? One goal in eight games. Even worse – he hasn’t picked up an assist since mid-December (11 games) – while still getting plenty of power play time.
- Alexei Emelin. Nothing after a strong bounce back game in Columbus. Zero hits. Seems like he has to initiate contact early to get in the game.
- P.K. Subban. On the surface things look ok. But there seems to be a gear missing. How does he handle a drop in power play time? I Look forward to him taking on old buddy John Tavaras at the Bell Centre on Saturday.
- Power Play. It was fun while it lasted. Anderson was good but not nearly enough second chances. On the bright side – at least they’re drawing penalties again (0-4).
- First period. Outshot 20-6. “Our worst first period of the season” said Michel Therrien. Really? There are many lousy first periods to choose from. Whatever Therrien and his staff are preaching pre-game they ought to stop. Try a different approach. Like, perhaps not say anything. And move the dressing room clocks ahead by one hour.