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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Canadiens - Red Wings: Habs Trounce Wings 7-2 in Rare Offensive Explosion

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the league leading Detroit Red Wings last night at the Bell Centre.

Not only did they beat them, but they absolutely blew them out of the rink. The Habs took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission, 6-0 lead into the second and closed it out 7-2.

David Desharnais had three points (2G, 1A), Rene Bourque had two points (1G, 1A), Erik Cole had three points (1G, 2A), and Max Pacioretty had two points (1G, 1A), among others.

In fact, there were only seven players who didn't get their names on the scoresheet for Montreal.

And, um, that was exactly what you were expecting right?

Final score: Habs 7 - Wings 2

Game Notes

The Great Dane rising - Lars Eller played another excellent game last night, displaying his nose for the net on a consistent basis. On an early drive, Eller skated into the corner and charged out with puck, sweeping out front for a scoring chance.

The play illustrates how high Eller's confidence has risen under Coach Cunneyworth, and he is surely the player who has benefited most under the new regime.

Gomez doing what he needs to - Scott Gomez, who has been putting in an honest effort every night since his return from injury, had some jump in his game. So much so, that he was the man behind the Habs first goal of the night.

Gomez didn't score, but he gained the zone with speed and conviction, the way he used to. The difference on the goal, was that he had a streaking 6'2 Rene Bourque barreling to the net at full speed. The big winger's drive opened up space for Gomez to skate up the left wing and fire a cross-crease pass to an active target.

The puck deflected off of Bourque's leg and into the net.

Not only does the goal show what Bourque brings to the table, but it also shows that Gomez is much more effective with a big, scoring winger. What a concept.

Oh, and did anyone else notice the Habs are 4-1-1 since Gomez was back in the lineup? Just sayin'.

Happiness of the night - Rookie defenseman, Alexei Emelin, scored his first NHL career goal, on a bullet from the point. And man were his teammates (and him) ever happy.

In case you're counting, that now leaves only four Canadiens without a goal so far this season: Carey Price, Peter Budaj, Andreas Engqvist and Scott Gomez.

Uh huh.

The Wings with their heads elsewhere - It was surprising, to say the least, to see the Habs skate into the first intermission with a 4-0 lead. But, if you think about it, maybe it was to be expected.

Playing their final game before the All-Star break against one of the worst teams in the league, the Red Wings just didn't seem to have their heads in the game.

Bad turnovers, porous defensive zone coverage, missed assignments. These were not the first overall Red Wings. No, this was a team that looked like they were expecting an easy night.

Moreover, they played like a team who was looking past the "gimme" against the Habs and towards a little R and R.

It just goes to show you that you can never take any team for granted in this league!

Burning man - Max Pacioretty scored the Habs fifth goal of the night—it feels strange even writing that. The goal was his 17th of the season in 49 games for a 0.369 goal per game pace, good for a 30-goal season over 82 games.

Moreover, with five goals in his last six games—after going 10 games with none—Pacioretty is unquestionably on fire!

Baby sat - P.K. Subban, who got a well publicized tongue-lashing from assistant coach Randy Ladouceur at practice this week, was up to his old tricks again.

He had an early turnover, flinging the puck to the Wings' player right at the Habs blueline, before taking a bad elbowing penalty with the Habs on the PP.

When the second period started the coaching staff had seen enough and glued Subban's butt to the bench. He was back in the third period but played a total of 14:36 minutes against the Wings, a far cry from his usual 23-plus minutes.

And good on the coaching staff, I say. They had been looking for an opportunity to discipline Subban and, with the Habs blowing out the opposition they sat him.

I have no problem with the move, as it was done with the Habs having the luxury of a four-goal lead. With the All-Star break upon him, Subban will have time to think about things and maybe do a little attitude adjusting.

Stat of the night - Four. That is the number of goals the Habs scored in the first period. That marks the first time this season the Red Wings have allowed four goals against in one period.

Question of the night - With the Habs now eight points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, and only 33 games to play, will the Habs make the playoffs?

Up next - The All-Star break. The Habs don't play again until next Tuesday when they take on the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre.

And this blogger is also taking a break, going to Barcelona on Sunday and back on the 8th. Until then, enjoy the All-Star festivities and the rare blowout victory by the Habs.

If I don't post anything before Sunday (which is unlikely but possible), I'll see you all on the flip side!

---
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and featured columnist on PowerScoutHockey.com. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny segment of The Franchise weekend morning show, on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/

Follow Kamal on Facebook and Twitter


(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)

11 comments:

Wow! A little eager to write this one tonight, Kamal? LOL!

Quite the game, wasn't it? It thought Gomez was gonna do it tonight....

@leshabitantssontmagnifique: LOL! Ya, I had the piece done five minutes after the game.

Huge win by the Habs. Re: Gomez, the tweet of the night was from TSN 990's Sean Campbell when he tweeted "...if Gomez doesn't score tonight, he'll never score..."

Hah, love it!

great game boys, Kamel I quote "he seen enough" i think you will find that in some of my comments.Nice win before the break

@Fraz: Too true my friend. Loved the benching move by Laddy and co.

The benching to me will not send a message. The team was up by 3-4-5-6 goals before Detroit finally had a goal so is it really a punishment to Subban?

Cuneyworth took the opportunity to bench the kid in a time when he was not needed. If the game was close or if the team was behind then nothing would have happened.

Let's go into PK's head for a second. He knows he took a bad penalty and he knows that he is the best D-man on the team whose playing the most minutes among any player. He is beloved by the team and fan everywhere were behind him no matter what.

Just look at the round of applause he got as soon as he saw the ice for the first time in the 3rd.

A benching may be necessary but how can you take what happened yesterday seriously?

@Bryan: I disagree, Bry. The benching was about Subban and nothing else.

What I mean by that is that he has a pretty big ego (like most star players) and he doesn't want to sit. Ever.

I doesn't matter the context of the benching because, no matter when it happens, Subban would not be happy about it. Couple that with everyone and their dog, post-game, saying in the dressing room that he deserved it, and you have an entire team trying to send him a message.

That they benched him when they were up 4-0 afforded RC the luxury to do so.

You could see every time they showed him, that Subban was NOT happy about sitting on the bench. And that is the desired effect.

We won't really know till after the ASG if it makes a difference to his play. But I think it DID send a message.

@KP

I see it differently.

He had the chance to show whether he got the message or not and what did he do on his first shift in the 3rd period with the team up 7-1.......he tried to do an end to end rush all by himself. Does that sound like the kid got the message?

Benching him, putting him in the press box won't change the way he plays. He play with exuberance and emotion and that won't change with a simple benching for 20 minutes.

What's happening here I think is as you pointed out yesterday. This is a kid who has been ruished into a position he shouldn;t be in.

And the fans embrace him as we did Latendresse or Sergei Kostitsyn or Price but the players, the coaches and the media push these guys out of town.

Chelios was too cocky and partied too much so was sent to Chicago. Ribeiro put himself ahead of the team, Grabovsky was cocky, Sergei had attitude issues....instead of nurturing these kids and putting them into positions where they can succeed, they are benched and then eventually shipped out of town.

Teams nurture their stars by surrounding them with veterans. Guys like Crosby lived with Lemieux, Letang I believed lived with Orpik, Ovechkin once lived with Fedorov.

Detroit has their players spend 2-4 years in the AHL learning the ropes before they make the jump to the NHL.

These are kids who need to learn what it takes to be an NHLer and need to be sheltered at times. In Montreal it's like we'll rush you to the show and then you're on your own.

@Bry: Too true. And, to me, that has been the biggest failing of this organization over the last decade-plus. They don't properly insulate their youngguns.

I don't think Subban is going anywhere, but I also have np with the benching. It will take more than one such instance to get him in line. But, then again, he's only 22.

I know I wasn't the most mature person in the world at that age!

8 points back and 33 games to go! Why can't Montreal play like they did last night EVERY night.....It will suck to have to watch playoff hockey in the Air Canada centre!

Go habs Go

@anon

I think last night was more a means of Detroit prepping for the All-Star break than the game. Also if you take a look at Detroit they play under .500 on the road despite being almost unbeatable at home.

Still, hopefully this gives confidence to the players and we can go on a little run. San Jose was 12 points back of the playoffs last year at this point and landed up going to the conference finals......here's hoping.

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