|Budaj makes one of his 27 saves on the evening|
The tone of the game was set early on. The Rangers came out and pressured the Habs- it looked like the Rangers would be off to an early 1-0 lead but the puck rang the post and went wide. This was the best opportunity for the Rangers all night.
Despite being on the road for the first time in some time, the Habs fans would have hoped they'd be eager to get back on the ice after their last outing.
The Canadiens had difficulty getting the puck out of the zone in the first half of the game, an issue that was costly for them when they played the Sharks. The Rangers tried to get as many shots on net as they could but the Habs challenged their efforts. They finished the night with 28 blocked shots.
A shocking aspect of the game was how the Canadiens chose to hold their game to a similar style that they did against San Jose. They played a trap game, given the Rangers pedigree thus far, this strategy could've been avoided on this night in the interest of the fans.The Rangers have had trouble scoring five on five goals this season. Surprising since Coach Vignault's used to boasting a very potent offense in his past years coaching the Canucks. The talent is not the same but to be 28th in the league should raise a few eyebrows. Add to that they are 29th in goals against, with their defense and usually solid goaltending, it explains why they've been struggling.
That being stated, the Canadiens should have been the ones generating the pressure.
Special teams played a big role for the Canadiens; they killed off the five penalties against and scored an absolutely beautiful power-play goal by Tomas Plekanec with the help of Bournival. Bournival has clearly established himself on the team and it will be interesting to see what happens when Pacioretty returns to the lineup.
Price had the night off as they play back at home tomorrow night. He has traditionally not performed at his best at MSG. The shut-out for Budaj was warranted given all 27 shots against.
Douglas Murray made his Canadiens debut. He made an impact by delivering a big hit and offered some stability on the PK. Playing on the third pairing with Francis Bouillon; maybe on the back-end of their careers they aren't being asked to log in big minutes. They're role players and offer the NHL experience and stability that the rookies may need.
The Canadiens play the Dallas Stars Tuesday night. Both teams are playing their second game in back to back days. Given that the Canadiens did seem to play with less jump in their step tonight, they will still have gas in the tank to play for the home crowd.
(photo: courtesy Toronto Sun)