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.
- 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.
Andrew Shaw given a video presentation and standing ovation at the United Center pic.twitter.com/SJmMKqL8Zz
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) November 14, 2016
- 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.
Corey Crawford’s PK save on Tarasenko. pic.twitter.com/dav5GDWEGs
— Blackhawks Breakdown (@HawksBreakdown) November 10, 2016
Corey Crawford pad save on Andrew Shaw. pic.twitter.com/6Yw9KT0oo2
— ⓂarcusD2.0 (@_MarcusD2_) November 14, 2016
- Patrick Kane. Goal of the year?
— #HockeyFightsCancer (@NHL) November 14, 2016
- 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.
- 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.