Sunday, November 17, 2013

Habs/Rangers Post Game Saturday Nov. 17th

The Habs were shut-out by the Rangers 1-0 who visited the Bell Center Saturday night.

The Canadiens who are currently 4-4-2 in their last ten games were coming off a victory in a shoot-out against the struggling Blue Jackets but looked lost against a rising New York team.

With Price in nets, the Habs were unable to get anything by backup goaltender Cam Talbot. Talbot has only appeared in a hand-full of games this season but has put up good numbers in those efforts, after the game Saturday night he is posting a 1.58 GAA and a .943%. The Canadiens shot 22 pucks in his direction but still weren't able to get any scoring done in front of the home crowd.

What is worrisome about the inability for the Canadiens to score is that in consecutive games they have played against the oppositions backup. There should have been extra incentive to get those pucks on net and test these goalies who are not regularly between the pipes. The Rangers blocked 21 shots to help their goaltender's work load.

While there was a lot of reaction from the media and the public with regards to the David Desharnais shoot-out winner against the Jackets. It appeared to only gave him a boost in the first period, the following two periods were filled with more of the same from the center-man who has been struggling progressively for the better part of the last calendar year.

Alexei Emelin made his Habs debut this season. While he has yet to play a game his play over the years has earned him an extension in the eyes of general manager Bergevin. In his first game back, he appeared a little rusty but did manage to log over 16 minutes of ice time. Given the severity of his injury, he will take a few games to fit into the line-up as the effective hard hitting presence he is famous for in the city. He came in replacing Douglas Murray who was benched for a large portion of the previous game.

The game for both teams was sloppy. Neither team was regularly finding a groove to challenge the other. The Rangers, one of the leagues hottest teams of late, played a physical, heavy hitting game against the Habs. They let Montreal come to them and waited for mistakes before reacting to them. They were playing their first game of a back-to-back and are playing against the strong LA Kings squad on Sunday.

Subban logged the most time on ice for the Canadiens again. The night before he had put up 29 minutes and Saturday he was on the ice for a little over 25. He and Markov were the team leaders in that category and while they are very good at producing points, especially on the man-advantage. The Rangers were disciplined and only took two penalties limiting those chances for the Canadiens.

The Rangers on the other hand used their power-play to score the only goal of the game. Pacioretty went to the box in the second period for tripping, and captain Ryan Callahan tipped in a Brad Richards shot which eventually became the game winner.

The efforts of Carey Price were rewarded with a third star selection. In his last two starts he has allowed 2 goals against but the team in front of him just cannot put it together and score to give him the win. Earlier on in the season he was able to keep them in games long enough for the Habs to generate the one important scoring chance that they capitalized on to get the win. Lately though, the Canadiens are not making the most of their chances.

Perhaps their success on special teams has left them searching for answers five-on-five. They are a middle of the pack 5/5 scoring team but have used their 4th ranked power play to compensate for that short-coming.

The lines for the Habs may need a shake-up. While the Eller/Gally(s) line was doing very well in the beginning they seem to be finding themselves in a short term rut. Their production was heavily relied on in the early goings but has since been lost. Maybe it's time for Coach Therrien to juggle the lines and see if there are new combinations that will produce goals.

The next three games are all big match-ups for the Habs. First they take on the Minnesota Wild who are quietly posting one of the better records in the west. Then they see Ovechkin and Crosby in consecutive nights as the Capitals and Penguins are on the docket.


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