Rabid Habs

Panic Switch

Minnesota Wild

“He was the bar for being a Montreal Canadien. He set the standard for everyone else to follow and he was just a really good human being. He was a winner and he was a humble winner. He was the benchmark and he’ll always be remembered.” – Carey Price

Heavy hearts hit the ice at the Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday, as the Montreal Canadiens were mourning the loss of one of the greatest players who once graced the bleu, blanc, et rouge jersey, Mr. Jean Béliveau. Despite the current Canadiens roster never being able to see Mr. Béliveau play live, any Canadiens fan or Canadian in general can attest that the impact he had extended far beyond the confines of the rink. Last night, the Montreal Canadiens weren’t playing for a second win on their four-game road trip. Instead, they were playing with a purpose; they were playing in honour of Jean, which was enough inspiration to lead the Habs in the right direction. The Minnesota Wild were now fifth in the NHL’s Central Division and were coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, so the Wild were ready to take the game back into their own hands. The Canadiens, however, were now ranked 29th in the NHL with a power play efficiency of 9.6%. Montreal were looking for their second win this week and it would be coming to them pretty easily. The last time the Wild and the Canadiens met at the Bell Centre on November 8th (the same night Guy Lapointe’s jersey was retired), the Canadiens won them over 4-1. Coming off of a 4-3 win Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche, the Montreal Canadiens seemed determined to make this game theirs, but little did they know they were in for a panic switch.

The Montreal Canadiens had a rough start to the first period with Jason Zucker (assisted by Mikko Koivu) slipping the puck past Carey Price only 59 seconds into the game, giving the Wild the first goal of the night. Despite the Canadiens’ best efforts to keep the puck deep in the Minnesota zone and keep the pressure on high, the Habs were blinded by the Wild who seemed to be extra fast paced and alert, which led them to keep their 1-0 lead until the clock ran out.

Jason Pominville raised the bar at seven minutes and 50 seconds (assisted by Christian Folin and Zach Parise) by giving the Wild a 2 goal advantage against the Canadiens. The Habs were struggling hard. No matter their game strategy, the team just couldn’t seem to control the puck enough to slip one past Darcy Kuemper which led to Minnesota leading (yet again) the second period until the clock ran out.

Just when it looked as if the Canadiens had given up hope, Alex Galchenyuk (assisted by David Deshanais and P.K. Subban) scored with 57 seconds left of the third period. It was go time for the Habs as they struggled fast to keep the puck in the Wild zone and applied the pressure hard, but the Minnesota Wild held their lead and won 2-1.

My thoughts on last night’s game.

  • The Montreal Canadiens are a good team. They’re actually better than good, they’re great. It’s not easy to come out of 29th place (power play) in the NHL and because the Western Conference teams like Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, and Nashville Predators are doing well for themselves, it’s going to be tough to beat them. With that being said, the Canadiens could have used the effort they had during the third period in both the first and second period. Down to the last minute of the third, the Canadiens were working their magic and finally got their first goal of the night. The first and second period looked like some lethargic scrum, and I’m not saying that to be mean, but they looked dehydrated out there. Tonight just wasn’t their night.
  • Alex Galchenyuk is the real hero of tonight by giving the Montreal Canadiens their first goal with 57 seconds left of the entire game, which was surprising considering we haven’t seen much action from him lately. Hopefully, we see more of his incredible play on Friday night.
  • If the Montreal Canadiens want to play well and win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, then they’re going to need to practice their ass off and focus on their puck control and passing. Nothing is worse than seeing your team with loose pucks and giveaways, and they’re going to need all the power they can get to get a second win on their four-game road trip.
  • Once again, JIRI SEKAC NEEDS MORE TIME ON THE ICE. That is all.

The Montreal Canadiens play the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at 8:30pm.

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures