Rabid Habs

Postgame: Habs Stuck Singing the Blues, 3-1 St. Louis

The All-Star break is over. For a non-playoff team (and their fans) the only date of note remaining on the calendar is February 26: the trade deadline. Therefore, games like Tuesday night’s in St. Louis are hard to get up for. With that said, thank you for being here. I’ll make this quick.

With Jordie Benn being sent to the doghouse, Joe Morrow pulled into the lineup. I can’t really blame you if you thought very little of this. At best, it was a sideways move and for a while, it seemed to look like a decent move.

In the first period, Montreal seemed to punch above their weight class. The Habs’ defense got involved by holding the puck in at the offensive blueline and keeping the Blues from breaking out of their own zone. Victor Mete was an obvious force for the Canadiens in the first, but there wasn’t a weak unit in the bunch. Even Morrow and Jakub Jerabek got into the act.

Montreal recorded 11 shots before St. Louis hit Carey Price with a puck…. Over 17 minutes in. The whistle from Price’s coverage of the puck was followed by noticeable jeering from the crowd at Scottrade Center.

It’s hard to believe that a shot can change momentum, but it did. In fewer than three minutes, the Blues managed to create eight shots on goal, closing the gap on the shot clock and taking positive energy to the intermission. Scoreless after one in Missouri.

The first shot the Blues got (thew one that drew sarcastic cheers from their own fans) was the early turning point in the game. After that shot, the puck belonged to St. Louis. The first goal also belonged to St. Louis. Off a botched play at the blueline, Ivan Barbashev created a rush up the right wing. Karl Alzner wasn’t going to stop skating backwards until he hit the end boards, and Barbashev beat Price with a stoppable puck to the far side. Three mistakes, two goals on the year for Barbashev, and a 1-0 lead for the Blues in the second period.

Taking a look at the reverse angle, I’m not so sure about this one being on Price. Alzner puts on a pretty good screen for Barbashev’s wrister to find the net.

This has to drive goalies insane. Look at Price’s head; he’s craning his neck to find a better angle to see the puck on a one-on-one rush.

Pardon my profanity, but Alzner’s gotta shit or get off the pot. Do a better job blocking the puck or get out of the lane. This is a rhetorical statement. Of course he shouldn’t get out of the lane. But he shouldn’t have been that far away from the play to begin with. Better gap control would have prevented Alzner from even being in this predicament.

The third period began with very little pushback from the Canadiens. In fact, at one point in the early stages of the period, the Habs managed to give up a premium scoring chance while playing with six skaters on the ice. Montreal was penalized and Patrick Berglund scored with the man advantage to double the Blues’ lead. His seventh of the year was scored from the slot as a rebound ricocheted off of Price’s upper body. 2-0 Blues.

In the final five minutes of the game, Paul Byron was taken hard into the boards by Colton Parayko. A clear cross-check and an obvious boarding call. On the ensuing five minute powerplay, the Canadiens pulled Price and surrendered the empty netter to Alex Steen just 15 seconds later.

Charles Hudon did manage to break Carter Hutton’s shutout with a garbage-time goal in the third, but this one was over at the end of the first period. When the Canadiens fell on their face after the slightest momentum shift, the game ended.

A tumultuous season continues in Montreal as the coach and the players look for answers.

Price

The Barbashev goal is up for debate, but he was the only one in a white sweater worth talking about Tuesday night. With the Canadiens asleep at the wheel for extended periods of time in St. Louis, Price’s stellar, and sometimes unorthodox, play kept this game close.

… Everybody Else

Every forward was invisible. Every defenseman was a liability at least once before the final horn. Not one Canadiens’ skater is worth mentioning by name. Brutal effort.

That will do it from St. Louis. Maybe we’ll get a more exciting game on Thursday when they head into Carolina for a rematch with the Hurricanes. Maybe we can even sit in the lower bowl!

Go Habs Go.

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

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