It's hard to see the positives in a game like this. This isn't quite the same December 31 we had back in 1975. We played a Panthers team on the second night of a back-to-back, and the Rangers should have softened them up. Maybe they did, and that's why we played them so close. Maybe without the Rangers' help this would have been a blowout.
P.K. Subban is out of control. I commended him last game on playing well, within the limits imposed by the game and the score. Tonight he ran amok, took bad, bad penalties, and picked a fight with someone tougher than he is, a fight he had no intention of finishing. He left that to noted strongmen Josh Gorges et al, who had to come in and clean up his mess.
To recap, at the end of the first period, P.K. is standing in the goalie's crease, looking for a rebound on an end of period set play. The horn sounds, the period is over, everything's cool. Erik Gudbranson gives P.K. the mildest of shoves to get him out of the crease, which is a dumb NHL 'send a message' type of behavior in itself, but it's pretty innocuous, except P.K. takes exception and points the blade of his stick at his body, pantomiming a spear attempt. Mr. Gudbranson swats his stick away, which is what P.K. should have expected. He also at this point should have realized that his adversary is listed at 6'3" and 200 lbs. He should remember that he had all he could handle when he grappled with Brad Marchand. Regardless, he crosses the Rubicon and takes a solid punch-shove at him, at which point the scuffle is on. Mr. Gudbranson grabs him by the head, probably a preamble to feeding him a few rights, but P.K., infallibly, puts his hand to his mouth as if he's just had dental work done by Dr. Szell. He swoons to the ice, both hands covering his face as if he's weeping. Meanwhile, Josh Gorges and other Canadiens, who if they had their druthers would prefer not to have to get into shoving matches like this, jump into the fray and defend their teammate. So they take a few jabs in the chops for P.K., who slowly staggers to his feet, moping, before he realizes that he's miraculously unhurt, and skates off the ice to what should be a lively dressing room.
I am so sick of his dives and fake injuries. Completely unworthy of our team. He starts trouble, retaliates like he’s a tough guy to a relatively anodyne push, but then has his teammates back him up for his nonsense. If he wants to be an instigator, he should pattern himself after Chris Chelios, not Mike Ribeiro.
It's so hard to focus on the positives. Sure, there's Natasha Staniszewski on SportsCentre tonight. Erik Cole managed to score a nice late goal, with, funnily enough, this David Desharnais guy at centre. Not the guy he played the previous 58 minutes with. Wait, that wasn't positive.