Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Game 36: Canadiens 3, Flyers 5

A different narrative for tonight's game.  At first it looked as if the Canadiens would, again, find a different way to win, by scoring timely goals right after the Flyers had taken the lead.  The team would take advantage of space cadet Ilya Bryzgalov, who this time shocked all observers by literally ducking out of the way of a tipped David Desharnais shot to allow a goal.  A TSN crew member described his performance on that goals as him "playing dodgeball".

But it was not to be.  This felt more like a game played by last season's team.  It seemed overmatched, and for the third period seemed resolved to just protect its slim 3-2 lead, to hang on for dear life, as if Hal Gill and Mathieu Darche were back.  Of course, there were good reasons for this, mainly the injury to Tomas Plekanec, which caused a wholesale revamp of the forward lines.  We saw Jeff Halpern flanked by Max and Brendan, Lars took over as pivot of the top line, I think I even saw Alex Galchenyuk playing left wing on the fourth line, subbing in for Travis Moen who was in the box for five minutes.

So the depth move by Marc Bergevin of picking up Mr. Halpern off waivers, and the tryouts of the Hamilton kids is going to pay off.  Tomas apparently strained his groin, so there's no telling how long he'll be out.  Max Pacioretty also pulled up lame and is questionable for the next game against the Jets, having had the displeasure of blocking a P.K. Subban shot with his foot.  Brendan will also have a tender foot, so the nicks and bruises may accumulate for Les Glorieux, an unwelcome change as the team had been relatively lucky in this department.

P.K. played another strong game, being tough, hitting the Flyers, drawing an undisciplined penalty from Brayden Schenn after a set-to, taking chances and stickhandling at appropriate times.  He's starting to remind me of Chris Chelios in the way he can take over a game.  He's not as mean and tough as Chris was probably, but he's more of a threat to score and better offensively, or at least has more potential that way.

The Antichambre boys were a little glum about the showing of David Drewiske.  They gave him a pass because it was his first game, but they were less than impressed, and I was scratching my head wondering what they were expecting from a 6th or 7th defenceman who was undrafted and obtained by the Canadiens for a 5th round pick.  I didn't pay special attention to him, but he didn't jump out at me as having done horribly.

There was also some grousing that the game was lost in the second period, after the two tilts between Wayne Simmonds and Travis Moen, and Brandon Prust and Zac Rinaldo.  It's interesting that in the past analysts would foam at the mouth that the Canadiens were undermanned in the enforcer category, and now that they could 'answer the bell' against the Broad Street Bullies, it's seen as a negative, and what sparked the Flyers and turned the tide.

The simpler explanation is that as has rarely happened this season, the Canadiens got bad bounces.  They were outshot by the Flyers, some might say dominated, and Carey Price kept us in the game, until one goal went in off P.K.'s skate, and another off Francis Bouillon's.  Both were pucks which otherwise wouldn't have been buried.  The boys were doing the right thing, being in the right position at the wrong time.  So we could confound ourselves in analyses and break down the game ad nauseam, but let's chalk this one up to the Law of Averages.

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