Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Game 5: Montreal 1, Buffalo 3

I am being tested to remain consistent when analyzing this game. I have preached patience and that the first half of the season would be trying as the young defencemen learn their craft, and while Andrei Markov rehabilitates. So far, the results make me seem prescient.

Tonight's game was entertaining, in that the Canadiens skated well and showed imagination and flair on offence, but frustrating in that there is no tangible result to their domination. 1 goal out of 41 shots. 0 for 6 on the powerplay. Another loss.

Carey Price was competent in net, but gave up a juicy rebound that led to the first Sabres goal. His stats are okay, but in the end he didn't make the big save the Canadiens needed.

The defencemen played relatively well. Alexei Yemelin made me sit up and take notice, he was sound positionally, and distributed bodychecks. Raphaël Diaz scored a beautiful goal. Yannick Weber was effective. PK Subban played within himself and didn't commit any major blunders.

Josh Gorges did commit the goof of the game, icing the puck as the period was winding down, the kind of play that would have been a run-of-the-mill bad play, except that the Sabres cashed it in with a perfect play off a faceoff in the Canadiens zone with seven seconds left. We often see coaches furiously diagramming set plays for a crucial faceoff, and I often think of how these are examples of micromanaging and overcoaching, but in this case it actually did turn out just how they drew it up.

The Canadiens forwards did well, although I'm having trouble figuring which lines did best, whether those formed at practice this week, or those that Mr. Martin re-jigged during the game, or those with four forwards used during powerplays, or those necessitated by powerplays and penalty kills that interfered with the normal flow of rolling four lines, or those cobbled together by the necessity to replace Travis Moen during his five-minute penalty.

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