Thursday, October 10, 2013

Habs/Flames post game October 9th 2013

The freeze frame of Joey Macdonald stacking the pads on Andrei Markov during a second period power-play gave most fans an indication that Wednesday night would not end as hoped.

A 3-2 loss to start the west coast trip is not what the Montreal faithful either wanted or expected.

Their opponents, the Flames, have surprised many by recording points in each of their games to date: a start that can be attributed to their visibly high tempo style of play along with the play of rookie Sean Monahan who finished with a goal and a helper on the night. 

During the first 2 periods it seemed as though the Habs were playing on their toes and rushing through basic sequences, whereas the Flames, kept their cool and while playing an aggressive forechecking style, managed to capitalize early and jump off to 3-0 lead after a period and a half.

Easily the best line in the early going of the season remains the youngest line on the Canadiens. They even earned the starting wave during the power-play in the later parts of the game- a move that should become a regular if they maintain their current pace.

Notably, the  EGG line accounted for 9 shots, the most from any line on the Habs. The easiest way to associate their success with such a statistic is to conclude that they take chances. They are aware that the best way to score is to shoot! rather than attempt the perfect play.

P.K. Subban is showing signs of Norris candidacy in the early goings. He ripped a rocket from the point that beat Macdonald cleanly, this was one of his team's leading 6 shots on goal, also helping Lars Eller find the back of the net during the third period.

A point to note is that P.K. did not receive as much TOI as he did during the Phili game: 22 minutes on the night, which is only a minute more than Francois Bouillon played. This is shocking considering the discrepancy between each player's respective skill-set and their contributions to the club. Also the team leader was Markov, who should be volunteering to give P.K. some ice time to stay as fresh as possible out there. It doesn't help that he did take a costly penalty with 2 minutes remaining in the game.

The 4th line of Moen, Prust and White did not appear to have as much grit as they've had in games past. They all finished a -2 on the night. While they are not expected to provide a scoring role, being down so early in the game, none should've finished in the double digits for minutes played, especially being down 3 goals at the midway mark.

Price was tested by 25 shots. The first goal was the result of bad rebound control; he should take the heat. The other 2 could be seen from different points of view. He was surprised by the Tinordi turnover behind the net and failed to make the best lateral movement on the Baertschi marker. The Glenncross screen and tip is a goal that should have been addressed by having the slot cleared by his defenders. 

In the end, Montreal did put 35 shots towards goal and only beat Macdonald on 2 occasions. Despite having many strong chances to score, the inability to comeback from a 3 goal deficit early on put them away.

They take on the Oilers tonight and will be facing another team that is equally if not superior in speed and skill. They must jump on the fact that they boast a lackluster defense and unconvincing goaltending to emerge victorious.


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