Rabid Habs

Postgame: Habs get a Point in 2-1 OT Loss to Columbus

On such an eventful day in Montreal, where Carey Price met with the media and Marc Bergevin claimed goaltender Antti Niemi off of waivers, the Canadiens played yet another mostly uneventful game.

Montreal’s slow starts to games continued on Tuesday, as Columbus scored on their second shot on net. A rolling puck jumped over Alex Galchenyuk’s stick as the Habs tried to exit the zone. The puck went to Markus Nutivaara, the shot went to the net, and Josh Anderson scored on the rebound. Brendan Davidson went for the shot block, leaving Anderson alone in front of the net. 1-0 Jackets not even three minutes in. Stealing from John Bartlett of the TSN broadcast, Anderson’s goal was the 14th goal the Habs have surrendered in the first three minutes of a period this year. Yikes.

Montreal’s best chance of the period came off a feed from newly pinch-winger Victor Mete, as he came down the right wing and fed Jacob De La Rose. De La Rose just missed the net on the feed, and Mete didn’t look out of place as a forward.

The Canadiens, on the other hand, looked out of place in the first, and Columbus took a 1-0 lead into the dressing room.

If you like offsides and icings, the second period was probably your favorite period of the season. About eight minutes in, Montreal finally woke up. A shorthanded breakaway from Paul Byron gave Montreal a bit of momentum, and the rest of the team seemed to take some energy from it.

But a Canadiens powerplay late in the period took away any sort of momentum the Habs generated, and the second period ended 1-0 Columbus. Outshot in the first 10-8, the Habs held the shot clock advantage 15-13 after two.

In the third, Montreal pushed hard for the tying goal. It started with a Charles Hudon shot on an odd-man rush, and included a De La Rose shot on another odd-man rush (where he held onto the puck for a step and-a-half too long), and a Max Pacioretty chance where the captain undressed several Blue Jacket forwards.

Just as Columbus started to pull the tug-of-war back their way, Montreal capitalized. Galchenyuk noticed Shea Weber sneaking into the rush behind the play, and he hit the defenseman with a perfect cross ice pass through about three defencemen. Weber came in on the rush and shot the puck for a rebound that was put home by Byron. Byron’s fourth goal of the year tied this one up at one.

That goal secured a point for the Habs, as this one needed extra time.

That loser point was all Montreal got on Tuesday night, as the Jackets got the win on a Zach Werenski overtime goal. Galchenyuk and Drouin weren’t among the two forward combinations used before the Jackets ended it.

Montreal earned a point, but it felt like they held themselves back from getting another.

Alex Galchenyuk

It’s amazing what a few games can do for your confidence. Galchenyuk was, without a doubt, Montreal’s best skater. I’m not going to reignite the centre/winger debate, but I think he looks more comfortable on the wing. As a centre, he was probably looking for his teammates instead of doing some things on his own. On the wing, he’s freed himself to make some individual efforts. I mean, look at the pass he made to Weber on the 1-1 goal. I think the only other player on this team that makes that pass is Drouin. Just a great stretch of games for him.

Sergei BOBROVSKY

Man, was this guy good. He made a handful of ten-bell saves in the third period alone. Admittedly, Montreal didn’t make his life hard enough through the first forty minutes, but he had to be in fine form in the third as Columbus protected the 1-0 lead.

He’s still a credit to the force.

Overtimes

In the last three overtimes, Montreal has started Tomas Plekanec, Byron, and Weber in order to neutralize the other team’s top line. That part has worked, but you ultimately just throw away the first shift of overtime. Plus, most teams have more than one line that can score, especially considering that there are, at most, two forwards on the ice. It’s not working. Julien, please, just use the guys that got you there. Galchenyuk not getting a shift in overtime is borderline criminal.

There’s been a lot made of Julien using a rope-a-dope style of play; just trying to wait out the opponent. I’m not sure that’s his 60 minute strategy, but it is without a doubt his overtime strategy.

That’s all I’ve got. See you after the next one.

Go Habs Go

Follow Ian on Twitter @BoisvertIan, and follow @RabidHabs for more updates! 

 

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