Monday, 19 December 2011

Game 34: Montréal 2, Boston 3

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, or so it seems after another loss by the Canadiens. Unfortunately, they seem to be losing the habit of playing up to the strong teams' level, sliding just under the bar again tonight, at least on the scoreboard that is.

Randy Cunneyworth has the responsibility to shake things up and wring more out of the lineup than Jacques Martin could, but that's difficult without fresh horses. His changes tonight, the lineup he iced and his use of it are no more reasonable or evidently beneficial and no less questionable than Mr. Martin's. He committed the sin of relegating Alexei Emelin to the pressbox in favour of Chris Campoli. Yannick Weber and his slapshot were also left out.

Mr. Weber being left out did mean that the Canadiens had a big fourth line, something which fans have been clamouring for, with Petteri Nokelainen between Mathieu Darche and Mike Blunden. They were effective and played with heart and determination, creating a few scoring chances, notably a shot off a goalpost by Mr. Nokelainen. This is where the controversies begin though, especially in a loss. While trailing by one goal, shouldn't the top 2 lines have been in heavy rotation to try to equalize matters? I'd like to see Mr. Cunneyworth justify this decision, especially in Français Radio-Canada International.

P.K. Subban looked weak, seemingly affected by a virus and almost being scratched from the lineup. He went through the pre-game drills and it was decided to play him, but maybe we shouldn't have bothered, especially with two healthy defencemen available. He looked weak for other reasons. P.K. committed a doozy of a blunder, a soft frilly what-were-you-thinking, didn't-we-go-over-this-?, wasn't-it-the-same-kind-of-horsebleep-that-almost-cost-us-the-game-against-the-Islanders pass that was pounced on by Andrew Ference and was behind Carey Price faster than you could say 'glove malfunction'. I'm tempted to excuse Mr. Subban for his transgressions tonight due to his enfeebled state, but I'm also tempted to stick him in the press gallery for a couple of games for the entirety of his oeuvre lately.

The Bruins were again, like the last game, on their best behaviour. Claude Julien has probably given his boys strict marching orders to not lose their heads while trying to decapitate Canadiens. With the popgun powerplay the Glorieux ice though, we may wonder why Mr. Julien would bother. Maybe it was the suspension meted out to Milan Lucic, the Bruins were chastened and have seen the error of their ways. Yeah, that's it, that's the ticket....

Benoit Pouliot is rounding into form, he scored tonight on a nice goal, in that he was in position to accept a great feed from Rich Peverley. Mr. Pouliot has been appearing on the scoresheet with some regularity lately, after an appalling start to his season. While I normally wish homeboys and former Canadiens well, in this case I want nothing good to ever happen to that traitorous treasonous turncoat. He can't go back into his deep hibernation soon enough.

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