Rabid Habs

Postgame: Hudon’s Offense Not Enough in Habs 6-5 Loss

With a strong effort against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, I thought the Habs would be able to head to the All-Star break on a high note. I thought the next weird thing I’d see on an NHL ice surface would be Kid Rock at the All-Star game.

That was before the Habs played Carolina on Thursday night. Might have jumped the gun on this one.

Anyway… The game.

Montreal got burned by another bad start, but it wasn’t a quick burn. You could feel the first goal against coming, as the Habs coughed the puck up in their own end three or four times before the Hurricanes scored. On a broken play behind the net, Justin Williams blindly backhanded a pass to Teuvo Teravainen in front of the net. No one in red seemed to notice the Finnish centre, so he deposited his 12th of the year for the 1-0 lead after only 1:34 expired in the game.

Before the mid-way point of the period, Carolina doubled their lead on the powerplay. A Victor Rask shot was stopped by Carey Price, but he flew out of his net to make the save. The rebound ricocheted to an uncovered Jordan Staal (looking at you, David Schlemko) who deposited the puck into the empty net for his 14th of the year.

Let me pause for a second to clarify that the Canadiens, even on their early powerplay have not generated anything of consequence yet. The first period ended with the Canadiens testing Cam Ward just six times. Two powerplays. Twenty minutes. Six shots. Brutal.

That doesn’t do it justice though. Here’s the shot heat map from the first period (from NaturalStatTrick.com):

No offense. No defense. No nothing. Ugly.

The second was ugly too.

It started with two Habs goals; Charles Hudon’s fifth of the year and Brendan Gallagher’s 18th of the year. Hudon’s goal came with an assist to Paul Byron, so the Habs new centre’s point streak is extended to six games now.

That tie lasted for 10 seconds.

That’s because Jeff Skinner broke the tie with his 15th of the year on a broken play around the net, and 29 seconds later, Teravainen scored his second of the game to erase the work done by the Habs to tie the game.

All of this happened before eight minutes elapsed in the period.

And before the nine minute mark of the period, Hudon scored his second of the game on a shot from the outskirts of the faceoff dot to pull the Canadiens to within a goal yet again.

Hudon wasn’t done. In the final two minutes of the period, Chud won the draw back to Jeff Petry, who looked surprised at the amount of space in front of him. Petry skated the puck into a high danger scoring area, beating Ward low for the tying goal, his fifth of the year.

Of course, this season’s Canadiens didn’t hold this lead. In the final minute, Jordie Benn made one of his classic ill-advised pinches that resulted in an odd-man rush for the opposition Price stopped the initial shot before Derek Ryan buried his 11th of the year to restore the Hurricanes’ lead.

The Habs were six seconds away from a tie game and a fresh sheet of ice. Instead, the third period began with the Hurricanes ahead 5-4.

The insanity from the second didn’t carry over to the third right away, but it did show up. The Canadiens managed to tie the game on the powerplay. A Max Pacioretty deflection in the high slot gave him his 16th of the season, but a Justin Williams deflection just ten seconds later gave the Canes the lead back. Again. 6-5 Carolina.

That’s where the score would stay. A wild one that the Habs never led, were never really out of, but one where they never really had a chance. You can’t start as bad as they did and expect to hang with other teams in this league.

Chud

I only want to talk about Hudon tonight. It feels right seeing him finally get rewarded for the way he plays the game. He didn’t do anything extra against Carolina; the pucks just went in for him. Hudon has played like this for the better part of the season. A fearless player on the wrong side of six-feet tall, Hudon plays with an appetite for offense. One thing in particular that I love about his game; he has a Gallagher-like ability of getting pucks to the net in impossible situations. And don’t look now, but Claude Julien might be toying with him at centre. Fifty-seven percent at the dot for Hudon… Interesting.

That will do it for me tonight. Enjoy the All-Star Game (break) everyone.

Go Habs Go.

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

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