Rabid Habs

The Recap: Game 63 – Habs vs Devils

GameRecaps

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Montreal 4, New Jersey 3 (OT)

FIRST PERIOD

– Al (Tony) Montoya gets the nod for the Habs in goal, saving Carey Price for tomorrow night’s inevitable start against the Blue Jackets. It was Montoya who endured all 10 of Columbus’s goals that infamous night last November.

– Gallagher with a fast and physical start to the game – another Habs player who like Galchenyuk, seems to be rounding back into form.

– Galchenyuk line also with gusto to start the period – good forecheck tilting the ice towards Jersey’s direction when they hit the ice.

– Devils look so much like the Habs were during the worst dumb-and-chase days under Michel Therrien. Makes for some pretty unwatchable hockey, nevermind a rather meek attack.

– Mentioned this in passing in the pregame piece, but would really like to see Julien give Andrighetto a legitimate chance on the 3rd line, and demote Byron to the 4th. Andrighetto is playing a far more aggressive and creative game.

– Habs with far more speed entering the O-zone, Danault line giving the not-so-good Jersey defence all it can handle. Still, the Canadiens aren’t converting on their opportunities, which for an inferior Devils team, is exactly what they’d be hoping for.

– While it takes Petry out of the picture, would really like to see Emelin sent out not during either a Galchenyuk or Danault line shift. Because he’s such a terrible puck passer, Emelin really hampers what strengths those two lines bring to the table (skill and speed).

– There it is – opportunities missed and then given. Weber with a poor play, attempting to pass the puck up the boards from behind his net to Plekanec, but the pass is far too hard and high for Plekanec to handle, and the resulting turnover to Palmeri is buried past Montoya. 1-0 Devils.

– Frustrating end to a period that was definitely favouring the Habs – but again, it’s the defence more than anything that tends to let this team down, and this time, it’s Weber with an error that he ought never make. Montreal is still probably mentally fragile, so we’ll soon find out whether they’ll find a way of bouncing back from that play, or folding up their tents for another day.

SECOND PERIOD

– Slight possession edge to Montreal, but the Weber mistake looms large – at least at the moment. Habs CF (5v5): 51.5%:

– Emelin is a wreck. Aimless in his own zone, unable to make even the most basic plays, and now a terrible trip to put New Jersey on the powerplay. Can’t help but wonder how much longer Julien can tolerate the intolerable.

– Fortunately, this Devils powerplay is mediocre at best. New Jersey on the whole has played unimpressively tonight, and somehow, the Habs are finding a way of letting their opponent and this game pass them by.

– Habs are trying to bump and grind their way to victory tonight – and it’s failing. Miserably.

– So, Desharnais promoted to 2nd line, and Galchenyuk is shifted over to the wing. Michel Therrien was fired, right? Asking for a friend.

– If Julien wants to shake things up, he could start with the so-called top line. After a decent 1st period, the Danault line has gone into total hiding. Would it kill this team to at least try Galchenyuk up the middle there for a few shifts?

– Nobody stepping up for the Habs. Nothing certainly from the deemed leadership – Pacioretty, Weber, Plekanec, Markov. Totally uninspired effort by a team that simple can’t afford to keep losing.

– Plekanec and Gallagher with what one might call a very good shift for the Habs. That’s the period highlight right there.

– Mortifyingly mediocre, borderline poor, imminently uninspired period by the Canadiens, who far more resemble a team playing out the string then their actual opponents, who at this point, are playing out the string. Inexcusable stuff.

THIRD PERIOD

– Two uninspired periods down, one more to endure. Habs just not showing up. What else can you say?

– Is there a team more burned by losing D-Zone faceoffs this season than the Habs? Moore with a point shot that goes through about 14 legs and between Montoya’s legs to make it 2-0. That might just be the killer blow.

– Hold that thought – at least for the next few minutes, as Radulov quickly replies with a snap shot that beats Schneider clean. It’s 2-1.

– Schneider isn’t elite – but the Habs approach to playing him is treating him as such. That Radulov goal is a good illustration that if you get shots on goal from decent scoring positions, good things can happen.

– Radulov certainly seems to be more inspired this period – one might think if anyone is likely to score a tying goal for the Habs, it’ll be him.

– Markov with a poor play, trying to play the puck up the boards (a relic of the Therrien era), which generates a turnover breakaway, Danault forced to take a hooking penalty, and the Devils concert on the powerplay seconds later. That should do it.

– Whelp, it ain’t quite over yet, as again the Habs respond in a matter of seconds, Pacioretty with his 30th, Schneider again not looking very good.

– Habs get their first powerplay of the night, 11 minutes left, an actual chance of tying this game. Hold on to your hats.

– Pretty good powerplay, the best chance being Pacioretty alone with the puck 20 feet in front of Schneider, but instead of shooting, he passes off (fruitlessly). Always the shots you don’t take that kill you.

– Lehkonen, obviously trying hard to impress the new coach, rag-dolled most of the game. Tough night for him has resulted in limited minutes as the game has progressed.

– Habs pushing hard, really hard, knowing the desperation of the situation. As the clock winds down, sinking feeling it’s all too little too late.

– PATCHES STEPS UP TO THE PLATE AND DELIVERS. With 52 seconds left, the Habs fight their way back to tie the score.

– Well, Habs needed a leader, someone to elevate, and the captain came through in spades, scoring two late goals to give his team at least one precious point in the standings. An overtime point will be critical towards getting this team back into a good position for making the playoffs, so buckle up.

OVERTIME:

– Radulov and Galchenyuk go out together, and look fantastic. Claude Julien, take hints when they’re handed to you.

– Beaulieu dumped and the Habs get an OT powerplay. Hold on.

– Galchenyuk. One timer. The Habs, incredibly, win the game. What a gutsy comeback. A massive victory. Maybe even their biggest of the whole damn season. More importantly, this team’s most important players delivered when it was needed – Pacioretty, Radulov and finally, Galchenyuk.