Rabid Habs

Windy City Blues

Chicago Blackhawks

“For us, it’s not so much focusing on key players as much as it is focusing on our team system and how we want to play. It’s going to come down to execution and paying attention to detail. The small things are going to make the difference in the game.” – P.K. Subban

Coming off a 4-1 win against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks were determined to make this game their fifth win in a row after a string of victories against the Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, and Colorado Avalanche over the past week. The Montreal Canadiens, coming off a unfortunate 2-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild, were looking to alter their luck against a team who were on a hot streak. The Blackhawks have been playing their best hockey of the season and while the Canadiens were trying to keep up, the team kept getting hit with a string of losses that had them sitting at eighth place overall in the NHL. For the Habs to hit Chicago with some windy city blues, it was going to come down to the small things: getting pucks out of the zone, less turnovers, and making sure there are bodies in front of the net. The little things that the Canadiens have seem to miss over the past few games would be the key element in taking victory over the Blackhawks, and getting themselves back into first place, but they had to want it enough.

The beginning looked bleak as Michal Rozsival (two minutes and 13 seconds, assisted by Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw) and Ben Smith (18 minutes and 16 seconds, assisted by Marcus Kruger and Joakim Nordstrom) led the Blackhawks 2-0. However, the Habs had luck on their side as Brendan Gallagher (assisted by Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec) slipped one past Antti Raanta at 18 minutes and 42 seconds, putting the Canadiens at 1-2 until the end of the period.

The luck continued as Sergei Gonchar got his first goal as a Hab only seven minutes and 58 seconds into the second period. Being tied 2-2 the Blackhawks applied the pressure and speed to try to keep the Canadiens from leading, but that didn’t last long as P.K. Subban got a power play goal with two minutes and 38 seconds left in the second period.  The Montreal Canadiens led the game 3-2 until the clock ran out.

Only four minutes and 18 seconds in and Jonathan Toews (assisted on the power play by Brad Richards and Duncan Keith) slipped one past Carey Price, having the Blackhawks catch up to the Canadiens and keeping the game even at 3-3. From that moment, it was a battle for a nice tall glass of victory as both the Habs and the Blackhawks played a long game of “catch me if you can.” However, the game ended quickly with Brandon Saad putting the Blackhawks at 4-3 with only 27 seconds left of the game, giving the Chicago Blackhawks their fifth win in a row.

Here are my thoughts on last night’s game.

  • The Montreal Canadiens were doing exactly what they should have been doing the past few games, which is giving attention to the small stuff. They got the puck out of the zone, they had less turnovers than expected, they put tons of traffic in front of the Chicago net, and they dominated and killed every power play they encountered. These are the Habs we know and love, these are the guys that a bursting with confidence and there’s no doubt that if they keep up with this mindset, they will have a giant victory win over the Dallas Stars. No doubt.
  • I have no problem with the Chicago Blackhawks. Growing up with a dad who is practically in love with the team, I grew up watching them too. They have great offence and defence, they have tons of skill shooting out of their ass constantly. I’m actually not surprised that they beat Montreal. The only thing that kept the Canadiens from making this game theirs was that they expected it to be theirs. We’ve seen this happen to the Canadiens a lot. They will get over hyped from having a beautiful winning streak and start to get a bit cocky, which gets them in a lot of trouble when they expect themselves to be the hottest shit on the ice. My advice for the Canadiens and any hockey team in general is this: don’t expect yourself to win every single game. In fact, doubt yourselves. Look at the stats, look at what other teams are doing, and make it scare you enough to push yourselves harder to win the game. Cockiness will only take you so far and then when you break your winning streak, you’ll just feel like complete asses.
  • Sergei Gonchar FINALLY got his first goal as a Montreal Canadiens player! Am I the only one who was wondering what was taking him so long? Now, I understand that in his first few games with the Habs he was a bit shaky and people had their doubts, but this 40-year old veteran finally made it with NO ASSISTS! It just goes to show that a lot of us fans give the new guys a hard time without seeing what they can really accomplish. I think we should take a look at that goal again just as a friendly reminder that some of us are doubtful assholes.

  • That P.K. Subban shot past Antti Raanta was the shot we’ve been waiting for from Subban for a while, at least I have been waiting for one of his genius hits. Can we just look at that once again?

  •  This is only the beginning of the season. It doesn’t feel like it, but there are still four more months and a brand new year for the Canadiens to fix themselves up and get into the Eastern Conference finals. Don’t give up on these guys yet.

The Montreal Canadiens play the Dallas Stars tonight at 7:00pm.

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures