The last time the New York Rangers scored as many as five goals in a game at the Bell Centre started by Carey Price was February 19, 2008. But Price, who was in his rookie year, was gone after surrendering three goals in the first period, replaced by Cristobal Huet. The Habs were down 5-0 midway through the second period. You know what happened. It was their greatest comeback ever (6-5 shootout win if you don’t remember) and one of the greatest games (as voted on by fans) in franchise history.
Since then Carey Price has been mostly inpenetrable against the Rangers (lifetime record of 12-5-1, 1.74, .943), especially at the Bell Centre (9-1-1, 1.06, .965).
It’s ok to pause at this moment-with the Canadiens finally eliminated from the playoff picture-to think about how badly you miss him too.
- Whatever happened to visiting players skating out after the game as one of the three stars, especially as the first star? Derrick Brassard (one goal, three points) had plenty of friends and family in the house. But then again, judging by the “Let’s Go Rangers!” chants that started even before the puck drop, so did most of his teammates.
- Brassard is a talented centreman (27 goals, 57 points) the Rangers acquired from Columbus for Marian Gaborik. The kind of centre that Habs GM Marc Bergevin says is not available. Just for fun, count the number of Top 6 NHL centres who have been dealt since Bergevin became GM of the Habs in May of 2012.
- To paraphrase Michel Therrien in reference to a long ago game when he benched P.K. Subban in Ottawa – Alex Galchenyuk was not ready to play.
- Galchenyuk’s poor performance seemed to rub off on Max Pacioretty. If it’s ok for the captain to point out Galchenyuk’s mistakes (“You have to be smart…you have to be aware of who is on the ice” said Pacioretty post-game in reference to Chris Kreider’s second goal of the game which came as the direct result of a Galchenyuk turnover) then allow me to point out that twice on a third period power play Pacioretty turned the puck over inside the Rangers blue line without a fight. This season was lost months ago. But as the spotlight shines on a player who’s experiencing a rough time as the captain of what has become a terrible team, there is more he can do on the ice. Reminding the Rangers that playing in his building isn’t going to be as easy next time would have been a good place to start. Don’t bother with the “He’s not that type of player” crap. He’s the captain of the Montreal Canadiens. He’s 6’2″ and 213 pounds. “How high did Pacioretty jump when he hit McDonagh?” asked then Rangers coach John Tortorella a few years back about a heavy hit on his defenseman following yet another New York loss in Montreal. What happened to that Pacioretty?
- Is there a slower defense pair in the NHL than Andrei Markov & Alexei Emelin? I actually thought they did pretty well to limit the damage against a big and very quick group of forwards.
- Pretty clear to see why Eric Staal has scored just once for the Rangers since arriving from Carolina. He had a goal on his stick shortly after J.T. Miller had opened the scoring but delivered a tepid shovel shot into Mike Condon. Later in the period Staal found himself alone in the high slot but decided to pass to a teammate in traffic and the Rangers lost control. Moments later the Habs tied the game.
- Lars Eller worked hard for his goal. But it was a reaction play. Give him time to think with the puck and he’s in trouble.
- David Desharnais-Sven Andrighetto-Philip Danault was the Habs best trio. Don’t go squawking at this late stage about Desharnais getting more ice time than Galchenyuk (18:12 – 15:19). Galchenyuk was that bad.
- On the other hand, What’s the deal with Mike McCarron centering Mike Brown and Stefan Matteau? What are the Habs trying to accomplish down the stretch with a top prospect? He’s a centre, he’s a winger, he’s a centre, he’s on the power play in front of the net, he’s not on the power play at all. WTF is this, really? There’s nothing to play for. Does Tomas Plekanec really need another 20:00 game while McCarron gets 11:00? Does it make sense that if McCarron does play wing he’s doing it behind Paul Byron and Torrey Mitchell? And to put anybody at centre next to Matteau is just cruel and unusual punishment.
- Matteau in a nutshell: On that never-ending shift late in the second period when three separate Rangers trios kept the puck moving while McCarron-Brown-Matteau were trapped for well over two minutes, it was Brown who finally got control for Montreal. Instead of icing it, he moved his fatigued legs and carried the puck over the red line to dump it in so he and his line mates could finally change. Where was Matteau? Instead of heading to the bench, he was skating down the ice to Brown’s right, as if the two of them were going to launch some kind of offensive attack.
- Predictable discussion point after Mitch Gallo’s question to Therrien about McCarron. Let’s be clear about this: TVA is the same company that owns Le Journal which not long ago featured a headline La fin de Therrien? Michel Therrien might have had the season pulled out from under him when Carey Price went down (only to be replaced not by a shrewd acquisition courtesy of his GM but by some of the worst goaltending we’ve ever seen in this city), but ultimately this is pro hockey at the highest level. This edition of the Canadiens will end up losing more games than any team in franchise history. If Therrien does lose his job it will be because of his inability to find solutions while his use and/or misuse of players was impossible to ignore. And a putrid power play that’s gotten worse in each of the last three years. Not because of some angry anglo boogie monster.