Rabid Habs

Postgame: Habs Winning Streak Ends in 4-3 Blues Win

In yet another game without number one centre Jonathan Drouin, the Habs looked to extend their winning streak against one of the top teams in the West.

If you could criticize one area of the Canadiens’ game over the win streak, starts would probably be pretty high on the list. In fact, that’s probably been the hallmark of the Canadiens’ season so far. This trend returned against the St. Louis Blues.

Five minutes into the game, the Canadiens found themselves down a goal. Jaden Schwartz came down the right wing and fired a puck off of Carey Price’s pads. The rebound sat near Price, and no Canadien could pick up. Schwartz grabbed the puck, drew Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Petry down low, and found a wide open Brayden Schenn who buried his 11th goal of the year. 1-0 St. Louis.

Montreal didn’t respond immediately, as their poor start continued while the Habs got their legs under them. On the powerplay, the Canadiens allowed Schwartz to come in on Price alone, but the Habs goaltender stood tall. Just a few moments later, Jordie Benn released an absolute cannon from the point that beat Jake Allen over the shoulder. If you blinked, you missed it, as Benn’s fourth of the year was only in the net for a split second.

Despite being outplayed for most of the period, the Canadiens escaped the first twenty minutes with a tie.

The second was flat-out bad.

Just over two minutes in, the Canadiens had an icing-induced breakdown. A two-on-one gave Scottie Upshall an eternity to shoot the puck. Upshall’s fourth of the year gave the Blues the lead. And less than ten seconds later, the lead was doubled. On a breakdown off the faceoff, Schenn abused a lapse in coverage by streaking in alone on Price and beating him over the glove. 3-1 Blues.

In a second period where the Canadiens were widely outshot, a miraculous shot gave them life. At the point, Shea Weber whipped a rolling puck at the net. The puck, on its edge, appeared to head about three feet wide-right, but it pulled back towards the net and behind Allen. One of the weirdest goals of the year gave Weber his 500th career point in his 100th game with the Canadiens. 3-2 Blues.

In the third, the Canadiens eliminated the deficit on a real Weber shot. Off of an Andrew Shaw faceoff win, Weber pounded a slapshot behind Allen who could only hope the puck hit him. It didn’t, and it resulted in the game’s tying goal and Weber’s sixth of the season.

It wouldn’t be accurate to say Montreal sat back and tried to filibuster their way to a point. They tried to push the play, but all night, the Blues clogged up the neutral zone and had an air-tight seal from blueline to blueline. The Habs seemed to tire themselves out by running into the Red-Rover Blues’ neutral zone.

The Blues managed to hold off Montreal’s attack before it got started, and Schenn’s hat trick goal gave the Blues the lead late in the third. A shot from the wall banked in off of David Schlemko’s skate, but Schenn didn’t call “bank” so it didn’t count. Okay, that’s not a rule, but it should be.

Schenn’s goal ended the Habs’ five game winning streak as well as his own team’s losing streak.

Disappointing

This header might be a little misleading. I don’t think the Canadiens played a “disappointing” game. The Blues are a good team who were hungry for a win and it showed. Montreal didn’t start particularly well, but they were in this game until the end. It felt like an honest loss.

It’s disappointing because, just a night ago, the Boston Bruins fell to the Nashville Predators in regulation and Montreal had a chance to put some distance between the two clubs. Montreal leads Boston by just one point, but the Bruins have four games at hand (something that always seems to magically happen).

Max Pacioretty

Early in the game, Pacioretty seemed anxious to carry the puck and make something happen on his own. To me, this is a player who is lost in his own head. Pacioretty seems so deep in his own funk that he’s completely forgotten how to play. I’m hoping he can salvage what has been an atrocious start to the season, but I’m losing hope fast. He’s trying to overcompensate with his legs early on in games, but frustration sets in and he stops working. Not a good sign for the Canadiens.

Slashing

Early on this season, I totally understood slashing. Any little whack on the hands or the stick was going to cost you two minutes. In this game, it seemed to be selected. Plekanec took one of the penalties early on, and it was the right call by the NHL’s black and white standard. Later, Robert Bortuzzo hacked Plekanec’s stick in half to no call. All night, it seemed the Blues were able to take uncalled whacks, but Montreal got two of them. Such is life in the NHL.

Okay, I’m done here. See everyone after the Canadiens play against my Stanley Cup pick Calgary Flames.

Boy, that pick isn’t aging well. 

Go Habs Go.

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

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