Friday, May 23, 2014

New York-Montreal Game #3: Tokarski & Clutch

Date: 22/05/2014
Opponent: Rangers
Location: New York

Win: 3-2 (OT)

Habs Goalie: Tokarski (W)
Opposition Goalie: Lundqvist, (L)

Habs goalscorers: Markov, Briere, Galchenyuk
Opposition goalscorers:Hagelin, Kreider

Play of the game

After the barrage of the first left the Canadiens in another hole, it was vital that someone put a play together that would somehow beat the Rangers defenders and Lundqvist. The play came early in the second on a rush. Gallagher and Pacioretty exchanging the puck as many other rushes before. The difference this time is Andrei Markov's committed thrust, following the play all the way. Catching the defenders napping, Pacioretty sent a wicked pass to Markov. Our longtime leader showed mastery of puck skills that betrayed his training as a forward, settling the hard pass and wasting no time in parking a shot shin high into the net. A stunner Lundqvist didn't know the Canadiens had it in them.

Dome hockey team

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


Brendan Gallagher

The little big man is due for a breakthrough on the scoresheet. He played another big game and is preoccupying the Rangers best defenders all night long. Even with all the attention he still also has time to break free and get multiple quality chances. All I can say is who knew he was so slow, and who knew a player wouldn't be vaulted forward by a comeback slash on a breakaway?

Max Pacioretty

Good throughout really, I noticed that he was not being properly contained by the Rangers D who continue to make a show of containing the small guys. He played the important role of safe cracker on the opening goal and just infused life where it was waning the rest of the contest. Encouraged by his playoff (re)naissance.

Daniel Briere

How can it even be? He plays so little, it doesn't bear to reason that Daniel Briere keeps popping up at important moments. His goal, the lifegiver, wasn't the prettiest. But with his record, can we even start to question what his intention was on that play. He had some other decent shifts too, and his presence on the 4th line gives the Habs one of their only matchup wins at the moment.


Andrei Markov

This was close to Game Puck Markov of 4 years ago. Sure, he had his moments pinned down like the rest. What's special about Markov is how he gets out of those and how he can turn things around the other way so quickly. He played a part in all three Canadiens goals and was on for none against. You know the first. The second was spurned on by his shift of pure will in which he should have drawn a penalty, created a takeaway and then blocked a key shot. He was the player caught on camera being congratulated a s much as any other after this goal. Finally, a sound defensive breakout (so rare) led to the rush where 3 forwards could actually attack the Rangers zone.

Alexei Emelin

A tough choice, especially given his role in the Kreider goal. But throughout, I really liked what Emelin was doing for the team. Among the defenders, he seemed the only player to really take on the pests like Zuccarello with the body and it seemed to have at least some effect (at least before the goalie was pulled). Being a Canadiens defender, you also know he blocked important shots all night.


Dustin Tokarski - Game Puck

He only effectively stepped into the fire and pulled out a shutout for this team. No shots where he was able to goaltend went by him.  He outplayed Lundqvist. It's stunning really. I've been excited by this player since he was acquired for Cedrick Desjardins. Winning at every level means something. IN this game, he showed the poise that Carey Price shows in these situations and just honed in the pucks. His two saves on St. Louis in particular were absolutely stunning in athleticism and grappling. The Rangers now have a series on their hands thanks to Therrien's faith in Dustin.


This was a very difficult game to watch as I'm sure you'd all agree. The result was right, but the tone rarely felt right. There may be some truth to the notion that the Canadiens are ailing and tired and dug too deep to beat a better opponent in Boston.  At times, the Habs just looked bewildered and incapable in their own end.

They held on. And a win can do wondrous things though, and suddenly playing for the prize that lies beyond the Rangers seems a little more attainable.

What's more, I should point out that they have now won two periods of hockey from the Rangers, and could clay claim to accolades for the other two periods they have drawn of the previous 5. They have also now traded wins with the Rangers and traded possession (I mean shot) wins. Place the 7-2 debacle and all its pain aside and this is actually the series we anticipated. That said, why shouldn't the team win 4 of 6, just as they might have expected to do from the outset anyway.

I suppose something also must be said about Brandon Prust. His hit on Stepan was misguided and suspendable for me. I can see that it drove a couple of Rangers to distraction, but in the end few that mattered. Prust will be a loss for the team, as he played well otherwise in this game. Carcillo for his part is a liability that we would be happier to see remain. In steps Ryan White for Game #4? Who knows what Therrien thinks anymore.

As for the rest of the lineup, adjustments are still required. I believe the team needs to try if they can to actually slow things down, as the race to the finish with the Rangers is exposing some deficits. I think these adjustments are made withing the current personnel, not by moving personnel, though I'd not be too worried about tinkering with forward lines that by and large aren't solving the puzzle of the Blue defence.

It should be an interesting few days and an intereting Game #4.



  1. Tokarski was much sharper than on the previous game. Not always elegant in his saves, sure, but he somehow managed to make brilliant moves. King Henrik was eclipsed by Tokarski. Kudos to him and shame on me for not believing he could do better.

    I hate to say it because the Habs played a very good game, but the bottom line is that luck had a big part in last night's victory. The puck was on their side when it was needed. Lucky bounces were working on both sides of the ice for our team. Did they deserve the win? Sure... Well, maybe, but I think the Rangers still played a better game overall.

    Prust gave a better performance alright - maybe was it because he played at the MSG? But his condemnable hit could've been a really painful penalty for his team. He's lucky he got away with it because if not, it's quite possible the Rangers would've scored on the ensuing PP. The Rangers would've been fueled by the desire of avenging their fallen buddy. Fortunately for the Canadiens, the Blue Shirts had to resort to a fight, which turned out to be quite useless and even costly, since Prust got the upper hand and Carcillo lost his mind once again, stupidly getting a penalty. I'm pretty a Prust penalty early in the game would've changed the outcome last night.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, I would love to see White back in the lineup. I honestly believe he was mistreated this season. I rarely saw him committing a mistake this year. He changed so much. The kid deserves to play regularly in the NHL while he's still young. In another, less fortunate team, I'm pretty sure he could play a solid 60-70 games per season. If they don't let him play in the playoffs, they should get rid of him instead of wasting his time. He's very valuable as a secondary defensive forward at 4 on 5. He's fast, relatively agile, never backs down ( much like Gallagher ) and even manages to create some nice opportunities once in a while when he has control of the puck in enemy territory. I think Therrien is afraid White could repeat what he did in last year's playoffs. I think he learned his lesson. Let's give him a chance!

    1. Ive noted what you note with White. Someone spoke to him and got through. With Prust's impending suspension (now we know Stepan is injured), the door is open for White. Moen might be standing in it, however.

  2. Good break down sir, but not as fond with Emelins' play.
    Emelin and Subban I must say, tired it could be for these 2, while Weaver and Gorges did the shot blocking and played 3/4 of PK time. But, yes Emelin did more hitting and flip out Beaulieu for Murray and let him play 8-10minutes also would of been my call for that and next game.