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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Canadiens - Capitals: Habs Register 50th Loss In Spite of Better Effort

As opposed to Friday night's faceoff against the Rangers, the Montreal Canadiens demonstrated much more zeal against the Washington Capitals, even outright dominating the contest at times.

In fact, Montreal outshot its opponent by a 41-33 margin and recovered from a 0-2 deficit to force a shootout.

Unforunately for the Canadiens, the Capitals have a deeper arsenal for use in the Skills Competition and scored on two of their three attempts.

David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty were unable to convert on their chances. That's too bad, since it deprived Aaron Palushaj of his first opportunity to participate in an NHL shootout.

After all, it's not like he's been getting breakaways in regular game action. Then again, it's not like Brad Staubitz is going to spring him loose with a perfect, 50-foot pass either.

In the end, the Habs would drop the game 3-2 and register their 50th loss of the season. Peter Budaj made 31 saves in the defeat.

Capitals' Lack of Effort

Aren't the Caps fighting for their playoff lives? Because, last night, it sure as hell did not look that way.

For the better part of the final forty minutes, they were absolutely brutal. With the Buffalo Sabres letting a gimme slip away against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Capitals should have had ample motivation to quickly bury the East's worst team.

Instead, they somehow let the game get to a shootout. And, honestly, after allowing 41 shots, they were lucky it got that far.

It's certainly popular to bash Alex Ovechkin for his team's woes, especially since he has posted numbers well below the standards he has set for himself.

But where the heck is Mike Green this year? As our Frank Dumais pointed out on Twitter, the blueliner has one assist in his last 21 games. Overall, he has seven points in 29 contests this season.

Not good enough.

Reverse Scoreboard Watching

In the bizzaro world of the NHL Draft Lottery, last night's results were quite favorable to Montreal.

The Toronto Maple Leafs finally won a game at home, giving them a four point cushion ahead of the Habs.

Meanwhile, out west, Minnesota dampened the L.A Kings playoff chances with a 4-3 OT win. The Wild now find themselves three points up on the Canadiens with a game in hand.

More and more, it looks like the Habs are en-route for a top-three pick this summer.

The future GM will be pleased about that.

---
Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com. Born in Chicago, Louis grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. Find him on twitter @LouisMoustakas

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

7 comments:

Good stuff, Louis!

Ya, I just can't figure out the Caps either. I have to admit that I mistakenly thought Coach Dale Hunter would be able to turn the team around.

I thought he'd get Ovechkin back to that hard hitting, hard charging, scoring juggernaut we all love (and miss).

I guess I was seriously wrong on that count.

As for Montreal, yep, the silver lining is that a top-3 pick is looking more and more likely.

Bring on the draft lottery!

@Kamal

I think AO has been supbar, but he has really picked it up over the last 15 games or so.

He is at a point where he needs to manage expectations and his stardom a bit better. Clearly, he has struggled with both.

As for Dale Hunter, he is perhaps a cautionary tale for those who wish to see Patrick Roy make the jump directly to the NHL. Much like Roy, Hunter was a former Captials' hero and he had much success at the junior level.

Yet, since making it to the NHL, his record has hovered around .500 (look, OT/SO losses are still losses)

Transitioning from Junior to NHL is tough.

@Louis: VERY good point! Not to mention Hunter has a roster filled with superstars...whereas Roy would not have the same good fortune coming to Montreal.

If the Caps miss the playoffs or are bounced in the first round, I'm expecting some major roster changes. They kinda don't have a choice since it's clear their formula isn't working.

Thanks for the game report. For the first time in 20 years, I'm no longer watching the games, just can't, it's all too depressing. I'll be back next year!
Brendan Kelly
http://topshelfwithbk.wordpress.com/

@Brendan

Thanks for reading!

I know how you feel. The fact that I watched half the MTL-NYR game and all of yesterday's game is a minor miracle.

Professional obligation. Can't write about what you never watch!

I'm with you Brendan - huge Habs fan but just can't watch anymore this year although I read all the summaries on the various Habs news sites.
Love the fact that there's an exciting crop of young players signing with Hamilton, especially on D.
Let's hope they let them develope properly and not rush them to the show.
I think if the Bulldogs had Palushaj, LeBlanc, Geoffrion, Blunden and St. Denis they'd be looking at a long Playoff run and some great high level hockey experience for these young guys instead of playing limited minutes in Montreal

@Paul

Thanks for reading as well!

Excellent point about the farm team. They have really struggled with all the callups and injuries. Next year, with the likes of Bournival, Beaulieu, Tinordi, Kristo and others joining the organization, they should return to being a playoff contender.

At least some of the team's younger players like Weber, Diaz, Eller and Emelin - if healthy - can get some good experience at the World Hockey Championships in May.

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