Now that was a lot better looking loss. Face it, they’re coming. This isn’t the ’76-’77 Habs (60 wins 8 losses) so if you’re going to go down, especially with your back up goaltender, you can only hope that there are good signs despite the loss. And there were plenty in this one, especially nine days removed from the debacle in Columbus.

THE GOOD

  • Al Montoya. Made a bunch of saves early to get his confidence back, then stepped up big time in the third period to keep his team in the game as long as possible. And they very nearly tied it. His second assist of the season gives him as many as Brian Flynn, in six less games.
  • Andrew Shaw. No surprise that he was the best of the Habs skaters back in Chicago for the first time. Six shots on goal and four of them were Grade A chances. The scenario was there for Shaw to provide the dramatics and he did rise to the occasion. But so did the Hawks goaltender. Nice tribute on the scoreboard early in the game. Maybe you saw it – if you were watching the game on WGN.

  • Andrei Markov. Fantastic effort while somewhat unexpected after playing over 21 minutes the night before at the Bell Centre. This was vintage time warp Markov, setting up teammates with perfect feeds, scoring a goal on a smart shot up high and generally playing like the quarterback we used to see almost every night back in the days prior to his knee issues. He played over 25 minutes, matching Shea Weber. And it looked like he could have gone for another 25. Very encouraging but you still have to wonder how many more of these he has in him.
  • Alex Galchenyuk & Alexander Radulov. Not nearly as effective as the night before but Galchenyuk was very strong and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Radulov, always so energetic, lacked some of the magic we’ve come to expect. But as Montreal pressed to tie the game these two were front and centre – along with Shaw. Galchenyuk had one last shot from in close with 20 seconds left.
  • Power Play. Weber. Again. This time by carrying the puck in and intending to pass to the middle of the ice. Habs power play moved up another slot to 7th at 22.9%.
  • Daniel Carr. I liked his game. Better than his more experienced line mates. Break in stopped only by a Michal Kempny slash. But it set up the game tying PP goal by Weber.
  • Corey Crawford. I always root for the kid from Chateauguay to do well. Just his work on Shaw was enough to drive home the point that Crawford has reached the stage where he just might be the best goalie in the NHL not named Carey Price. In his career against his hometown team Crawford is a positively Price-like 5-0-2, 1.42, .955.

  • Patrick Kane. Goal of the year?

THE BAD

  • Brendan Gallagher. Pointless in six games. Goalless in 10. It’s not often he’s this invisible.
  • Tomas Plekanec. Where wingers go to die.
  • Paul Byron. Habs could have used a more legit top LW. Not up to par with the rest of his trio.
  • Jeff Petry. Lots of guys get victimized by Patrick Kane. But that was one weak ass one-hand-on-the-stick effort.

THE UGLY

  • Max Pacioretty. It was a good start for the Habs captain who looked loose and comfortable – until a Weber slapper ricocheted off a skate and into his mouth. Maybe he should have stayed in the dressing room because he wasn’t the same guy when he came back. Terribly weak on the puck in his own zone on two occasions which led directly to the game winning goal. It’s still a learning experience for Pacioretty. Toews and Kane are future Hall of Famers. It’s not supposed to be easy playing against them. But there is nothing standing in the way of wanting the puck as badly as those guys do.

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11 Responses

  1. Rick L

    Thanks Mitch … would have liked to see them win it for Montoya, but I thought they looked gassed last night … Chicago’s full-court press didn’t help any … second time this year where they played 4 games in 6 nights … they’ve got Florida tomorrow night … looking forward to it …

  2. Sharon R.

    Well at least it isn’t only Subban who managed to hit Max with a puck on a few occasions. Now Max has been the recipient of a few of Weber’s. Makes me wonder where his head is at sometimes. At least they won with a lot more dignity last night.

  3. dra58

    One other ugly… having to use Markov for more than 25 minutes even though he looked good I wonder the toll it will take as the season wears on. Nice review and I like Carr as well.

  4. Rick L

    Mitch, what is up with Greg Pateryn? … it seems every time there’s a shuffle in the defence corps it seems he’s always the odd man out …

    Cheers.

  5. Michael Nixon

    Rick…the foxhole boys do not like Greg…very obvious…any excuse to get him out of the lineup. Do not understand it!

    • Mitch Melnick

      They need to upgrade their D with a better, more experienced puck handler.

      • Rick L

        Thanks Mitch … I always thought Pateryn was a safe, stay-at-home guy who’s good at clearing the crease and who makes low-risk plays … a “grinding player” that fit well into Michel Therrien’s system … I guess I just don’t like seeing a guy with his ability sitting out every time there’s movement on the blue line corps … thanks again …

  6. Shane Oliver

    Need to get Gallagher going. How do we do that? Play him where he was succeeding. Top line.

    Game 1-Game 7, 7 points with Max and Alex.

    A lot is invested into Gallagher and nothing into Bryon. Move him (Byron) to the “where points go to die line,” with Plekanec.

    As impressed everyone was with Montoya. I was happy but not impressed. Rebounds are Halakish. He needs to make extra three saves for every one he makes. Next, play him against the bottom feeders, this week is full of them. I want Price in goal vs high end teams. Price had a shutout on Sat, yet he wasn’t even a star. What does that say to people, he wasn’t very busy.

    Injury, sminjury, he could get hurt getting out of bed in the morning, oh wait that’s me. Play the Man, he’s a freakin Legend in the Making.

    Shane from Brandon,MB

  7. Michael Nixon

    Question: Who thinks Marc Bergevin has done a good job so far with this team? This was brought up because of Jack Todd’s MMQB column and his comments on Bergevin. Via e-mail, I spoke with Jack and indicated there was much MB has not done especially on a team that has had issues down the middle for years. I mean, can we expect to go far with Plekanec and DD as our no. 2/3 centres? My opinion is the jury is very much out on Bergevin and while the trade for Weber looks good so far it only really matters if we reach the finals or win the Cup. Jack’s response was interesting, to say the least. My feeling is Bergevin has simply not addressed this team’s issues down the middle and, as Mitch mentioned above, we still need help on D. To me, Bergevin, with the exception of the Subban/Weber deal, has done very little to make this team better…3rd/4th line players help depth but overall are not going to put you over the hump.

    So, has MB done enough or is there still more work to be done and expected to be done to help this team out even more?

  8. Ian London

    I went to Saturday’s game (first one in Bell Centre in 10 years – I moved to Vancouver long time ago) and didn’t see this game as was enroute back to west coast. If Byron had a bad game we need to cut him a little slack – he’s had an impressive week. Gally hasn’t been himself all season. Are teams finally figuring him out? Don’t see moving Rads off top line so coaches need to work with him to figure this out. He’s far too important to our cause. Not sure why coaches would be negative with Pateryn – he’s MT’s kind of player. We’ve played a lot of games this month (7 in last 12 games) and won 5 of them. I’ll take 71% winning percentage all day – that’s 117 pts folks. Let’s beat FLA. Although they may be a challenge now that they’re playing in from of more than 8000 “fans”. Why is that team still there and not moved to Quebec City?