Sunday, May 11, 2014

Boston-Montreal Game #5: Bruins Of the Regular Season Returns to Take Series Lead

Date: 10/05/2014
Opponent: Bruins
Location: Boston

Loss: 2-4

Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Rask (W)

Habs goalscorers: Gallagher, Subban
Opposition goalscorers:Soderberg, Smith, Iginla, Eriksson

Play of the game

Brendan Gallagher's determination knows no bounds. If you have lost faith in your team. Don't. This guy is on it. Who can get crunched to the point of near injury and shake it off to score the most important goal of the season to this point for the Habs: the goal that said: we will live on past this. Gallagher. The question is no longer how can we get Pacioretty going, but how can we get Gallagher away from players that sap his chances with cheesy shots. What was sweeter than Glen Healy complaining like the pathetic anti-Canadiens figure for an interference call on this goal. There's life yet.

Dome hockey team

The 6 players we're playing in a no changes, do or die contest in the dome


Brendan Gallagher - Game Puck

Let's face it, Brendan wasn't fending many off for this puck. It seems most players other than he had some major mishaps. He himself was credited with 3 dreaded giveaways. The difference with Brendan is there is no spiral, only the engine that moves constantly in the direction of victory. He can not do it alone. if he gets some help, the Habs will play on. As I mentioned, his goal was a thing of beauty.

Lars Eller

Eller really is making the case that his playoff self can sustain a level that is seldom seen during a season (certainly this past one). Once again, he gives fits to Boston and caused two penalty calls from referees very reluctant to hand out PPs. His penalty drawn in the second period was the lifeline that in my opinion ended up keeping the Canadiens season alive. ope would have been properly crushed with another shutout at just the wrong time. Surely, it is his strength that helps him keep plays alive. Can he learn in mere hours some extra sense of his teammates? We've seen this before once. With Eller can you ever really count it out?

Max Pacioretty

I don't agree with Don Cherry that Max Pacioretty will have to score sooner or later based on volume of shots alone. The quality of his efforts must improve, some are truly awful, giveaway variety attempts. Yet, the night was full of those shots from all corners. I did glimpse one or two good things from Pacioretty. He even nearly used his size at one point. OK, not great, but it was that kind of game.


PK Subban

His heroics at the end left more than a few Bruins fans thanking the league for the 20 minute period. 5 minutes longer, and this force of nature might have scored three more. The Vezina goalie is found ducking once again against his seemingly covered slap shot. The reservation with Subban is this: why so late. Perhaps, he's had it coached out of him. But any Canadiens fan worth his salt knew the Canadiens needed the second goal of this game at least. The things he did at the end were not there at the beginning. Look, I don't want a reckless player who casts caution to the wind 10 minutes into a tight contest. But this was the regular season champs in Boston in a game where they were starting to feel pretty good about themselves. Someone had to make the mark earlier. Subban seems the only one talented enough to actually do that. I know he will be there tomorrow. Further, I know his instincts will take over in the less cushy elimination scenario. He'll be the star of the night. But for my nerves, oh my nerves...

Andrei Markov

A surprisingly positive game from Markov. He makes two simple feeds to claim assists -- we all know how important his work leading up to those opportunities on PPs is. He nearly held a clean sheet also, but for an uncharacteristic rebound that can't be marked against the General. Like Subban, I think Markov needed to somehow rally his team earlier. Unlike Subban, I am not sure he has the ability to kickstart the whole affair on his lonesome.


Peter Budaj

Four goals on 30 shots is just too much. This is not an indictment of Carey price, but an admission that he was below his best. With the blanket the Bruins were able to throw over the forwards in this with a three-goal lead, Price has to take some responsibility. The fourth goal, after life was given, was the knell for this contest, as well. I don't have any more to say on it, except, that I fully expect it will be different next time.


I have mixed emotions about this one. Yes, the Bruins got a little bit of luck on three of their goals (the Plekanec interference call was 100% wrong). But the Bruins were the only team trying to make use of luck. Except for the Canadiens two goals really, their chances were outsiders and half-hearted. I was worried to see so much half-heartedness, and only climbed out of despair when the full-hearted Gallagher and Subban showed me how.

We must be careful though not to heap all this on the Habs. What we finally saw, I think, was the Bruins playing the hockey they so regularly employed to win the regular season crown. This is what playing a favourite is all about. Sometimes they show you full well why they deserved that title.

The heartening thing then must be how rare that feeling has been thus far. And how the Bruins really only came into it themselves once comfortably backed by three goals.

Now, the Canadiens can't formulate a gameplan that says: score first. If so, why not the equally silly: score more. What the team does need to do, however, is to show its full life early and often. To push back on what Boston will surely offer, because they as yet always have. It won't be easy, nor impossible.

Can the coaches do much about it? Well, Prust's icing was unforgivable leading to Goal #1 with Murray and a new partner on the ice. (Not sure why I thought this was Prust, sorry Brandon. Still stick by the next bit:) He didn't play much and had few redeeming moments. I would think he has to be marginalized for the sake of Briere or another. Murray? I think Bouillon's time has come again. Not to blame Murray, but he does have that penchant for the icing problem early in games. Change the lines? Mostly indifferent on this. It hasn't had the effect it was supposed to. Don't think much will change based on a new line -- it's new energy from every player that's required.

Finally, I'll say this. Therrien must trust his star players. There is no guarantee they will prevail. There is only a better chance they can. Subban is top of the heap. Unrein him if necessary, he has shown he deserves the chance. Play Gallagher more. He's in no more need of protection than the others. Don't discount Vanek and Pacioretty yet. Vanek still puts across the passes to dismantle and Pacioretty has it in him to create the havoc that it will take to win.

Don't poke the bear? A mere tagline. This is the Habs with the season on the line.



  1. Prust cannot play tonight. He isn't in game form, that's clear. Hard to understand why briere was sidelined considering the rhetoric is "he's good in the playoffs", and not to mention that he has among highest points-per-minute on the team.

    If briere is more or less healthy, I really wonder where Bergevin stands on that move.

    Don't poke the bear? Nonsense, crazy talk. Poke the bear, but keep on poking it, and don't stop, because the bear will lose its mind as it is wont to do.

  2. Whenever the Bruins take the lead they will play this kind of game. Once they get the lead, they get tougher and tougher as time goes by. They are a formidable force whenever they are ahead. I don't blame any calls or lucky bounces for Montreal's defeat - they had their share of luck in the past games. The Bruins are the better team. They are stronger at 5 on 5. They are heavier. They're more experienced.

    But Montreal still has a chance to beat them. All they have to do is to stick with the plan - intercept passes, create turnovers, create adversary penalties and benefit from the PP.

    Therrien did a wonderful job at f'ing up his lines. He should've kept Vanek with Desharnais and Pacioretty instead of panicking. By downgrading Vanek ( not even sure that's downgrading ) he messed up his other lines. Removing Brière for Prust was a terrible idea as well. He destroyed the 4th line that gave headaches to the adversary. Wasn't Brière chosen because he could help the habs during the playoffs? And when will we stop lying to ourselves? It's damn obvious Therrien doesn't like Brière...

    He had 3 lines working. Now he has, what, 1?

    I wish he could put Eller's line right at the beginning of the PPs against Boston. This line is hot. It's no time to try and revive Desharnais' line with powerplays. I don't care if Eller and his teammates lack experience on the PP. If they don't score, they won't be worst than the 1st line because they can't score either.

    Brière could also be helpful on the PP? But Therrien has a vendetta. Look, I don't like Brière either. He's clearly overpaid. But he's been playing some good offensive hockey unlike Prust who couldn't even check players that night.

    I don't think Montreal can eliminate the Bruins, but I don't mind. I didn't expect my team to go this far. They have lots of fresh, young horses. Ultimately, the Canadiens will get better and better in the upcoming years. It's no time to despair. What we see now is a bonus round. In a couple of years or so, they'll go further than this... And we'll all be allowed to dream the big dream.

    1. I should have let you write the report. Thanks for the comment