Thursday, 8 December 2011

Game 29: Montreal 3, Vancouver 4 (SO)

The Canadiens again played just well enough to lose a close game. They were playing the Canucks, a much stronger team than the Blue Jackets they faced on Tuesday, and thus modulated their effort accordingly, and played up to the opposition. Almost. They took advantage of a shaky Roberto Luongo to grab a lead of 3-0 early in the second, at which point their rubbery knees and clammy palms took over, and they couldn't finish him off with a fourth tally.

The Canadiens defence rolled along well without Yannick Weber, banished to the pressbox in favour of Frédéric St-Denis. Mr. St-Denis scored his first NHL goal with a simple wrist shot from the blue line, as did Raphaël Diaz. Hal Gill did his Human Zamboni act on the penalty kill, which is disconcerting to observe, and causes a pseudo-expert to yell at him through his 50-inch Toshiba to get the heck up on his feet, but dang it if it isn't effective, as he helped kill off the 5-on-3 thusly splayed on the ice.

The forwards are cooling off to a dangerous degree. Travis Moen has been lucky this season, but tonight missed a few chances by a foot or so. Mike Cammalleri's one-timers aren't working, or even threatening. Max failed to convert a seeing-eye pass from David Desharnais through two defenders. As they cool off they seem to be tightening up, pressing too hard or trying to fire the shot through the goalie, extra hard, instead of smoothly potting the chances, with calm.

The Canucks seemed to be the adversaries tailor-made to send the Canadiens on a winning streak, in that while a stacked club, they are more of a finesse and skating team with which we match up well. Especially after a promising start, this kind of game is hard to swallow.

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