The Road Worriers were at it again. One point out of 8 on a winless 4 game road trip or .125 hockey. But other than in San Jose they “competed well”. Isn’t that special?
Marcus Foligno put it best over a month ago when the Sabres forward said the Habs are finding ways to lose. That’s what losers do. But why stop on the road? Because unless you’re a fan who continues to carry around a miracle scenario which features the Canadiens somehow getting into the playoffs (HAHA! HAHA! HAHA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!…sorry) you should be paying close attention to the bottom of the NHL standings. Montreal won’t “catch” Toronto for 30th but they are only 9 points away from 29th place Edmonton and 8 points away from 28th place Calgary, while remaining 8 points and 5 teams away from a playoff spot.
They can do this. At least until Carey Price decides to come back and ruin it all.
- Alex Galchenyuk at center with Max Pacioretty on his left wing and – presto! – Pacioretty has easily his best game of the trip. Too bad Brendan Gallagher took a Pacioretty shot off his right hand. We had to wait 66 games for this trio to be put together and it didn’t last a period.
- Pacioretty as playmaker? His first 2 assist game since November 5th. He showed a hunger for the puck. Too often this season Pacioretty has seemingly been waiting for somebody to get the puck to him. But you need to want it yourself. Like Galchenyuk.
- Gallagher missed a shift after getting hit with the puck when he sat on the bench with his right hand buried in a bucket of ice water. He returned to the ice before leaving for good with what the Habs described as a “lower body injury”. I suppose if you never lift your hand it always hangs below your waist. But what about when you’re sitting down to eat (unless you have the inspiring ability to show off your Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot impression)? Or to pray? Or maybe Gallagher really does have a true lower body injury. Does anybody still care about what the Habs call it? It’s a grand deception that has psyched out opponents to the point where all the molecules on the planet get sucked into a vortex of…sorry (again).
- Maybe Tomas Plekanec has already checked out to prepare for the World Hockey Championship in early May.
- Michael McCarron was -3 with 6 shots on goal in almost 13:00 of ice time. I’ll go with the SOG.
- McCarron was the third Habs player to fail to clear the puck along the boards that led to Winnipeg’s second goal by Andrew Copp early in the third.. Torrey Mitchell and Morgan Ellis were also victimized. Ellis’s total ice time was just 6:21. And now he’s back in the AHL.
- Mark Barberio on the other hand (lower body), made a terrific play along the boards in the Winnipeg zone to get the puck to Pacioretty who made a nifty backhand-between the legs pass to Galchenyuk to tie the game just 73 seconds after Winnipeg opened the scoring. Barberio is a highly skilled guy in the offensive zone. It’s the other two thirds of the ice surface that seems to present a challenge.
- Sven Andrighetto, Jacob de la Rose, Phillip Daneault and Stefan Matteau combined for 4 shots on goal. Meanwhile, in St. John’s Nikita Scherbak – playing center – had a 3 point night in an overtime loss to Albany.
- P.K. Subban can’t be playing bad hockey while under the Team Canada microscope. And he was really bad in this one. It’s one thing to try to dipsy-doodle around an NHL forward when you’re the last man back. But to try it a second time is asking for trouble, especially after a long two minute (plus) shift on a miserable power play. Back to back goals allowed by Montreal in the third period in LA (Dwight King) and the opener in Winnipeg (Mark Scheifele) highlighted Mike Babcock’s concern about Subban. Yes it’s very different playing out a lost season for a terrible offensive team than it is representing your country on the world stage. But every elite player who was left off a preliminary World Cup roster is auditioning for a spot. Subban has plenty of time to make it right. I don’t believe the “Subby-do” should be retired for good. But there is a proper time and place for it. Meantime, there is another aspect to his game (besides the power play where he played 3:28 of a horrible 4:00 with the man advantage) that bears scrutiny – penalties. Down by a goal Subban decided to slash the stick of the offensively non-threatening Chris Thorburn behind the Montreal net. There was just 5:44 left to play.
- When is the draft lottery?