Thursday, 7 November 2013

Game 17: Canadiens 1, Senators 4

It's hard to be positive in the maw of a four-game losing streak.  The Canadiens did buzz around and dominate early, but it didn't show up on the scoreboard.  The Senators eventually turned the tide and won by a 4-1 margin.

The Antichambre boys are saying that we're at .500, but we're not, we have eight wins, eight losses, plus an overtime loss.  The overtime point really confuses some people.

There are no easy fixes, it's not like a tweak here and a shuffle there is the obvious remedy.  Most of the forwards have grown cold, and Andrei and P.K. can't score all the goals.  It would be nice to get some offence from Raphaël Diaz on the back end too.

One defenceman who has received some flak is Douglas Murray, for, of all things, being slow.  This is not an instructive observation.  Marc Bergevin knew he was slow prior to signing him to a free agent contract this summer.  We all knew it, from all the reports we read, and from the few games we saw him play as a Penguin.  It's understood, it's built into the equation, that's why he was available so late and so cheap.  It's factored into the risible acquisition cost.

What he does bring, as we also knew ahead of time, is a lot of toughness and physical play.  It was evident in the first period, on two separate occasions that I took note of.  One was a good shoulder right in Cory Conacher's kisser at the opposition blue line, a nice time to stand him up when he wasn't expecting it, and a nice payback for Chris Neil's similar hit on Brendan Gallagher earlier in the game.  It might not lead to anything tangible, but in the medium term I kind of approve of the concept that opposition teams get the same treatment they dish out to our players.

Another occasion when he proved his worth was on a whistle in front of Carey Price, with Matt Kassian looming nearby.  I readied myself for some vigorous facewashing and goonery from the Sens, but Douglas Murray was standing right in front of him, and the situation diffused of its own accord.  It's productive to consider how the situation might have devolved if Tomas Kaberle and Yannick Weber had been on the ice.

David Desharnais was back on the ice after a game in the pressbox, and had René Bourque and Michaël Bournival as his wingers.  I'd held out hope that a reunion with Max and having René Bourque on his preferred right wing might spark up some of the old David magic, but it's reasonable to agree that he's spent all his credit from two seasons ago, and now has to earn it back.  He doesn't get the #1 scoring winger automatically anymore, just based on their chemistry dating back from their Hamilton days.  Plus, the way Max is wincing on the ice, I don't know how much he can do to get Davey going.

Carey Price was unlucky, unlike his counterpart Robin Lehner who was superb.  Carey didn't really stand a chance on the three goals he allowed, all being scored on deflections or while he was being fronted by Sens, or even his own guys.  So his save percentage creeps down again, to .930 on the season, but that's how that stat works, he'll have some games with a lot of creampuff saves to fatten his average, and others like tonight with bad bounces and shots he can't blame himself for letting in.  

For example, the first goal by Bobby Ryan was largely aided by Josh Gorges, apparently busy humping Kyle Turris in front of Carey's crease.  Josh does a few things reasonably well, but a nice attribute for him to have would be enough strength and snarl to move a player like Mr. Turris who is hardly a battleship, but more a frigate.  Again, we're reduced to wondering just how effective can a 'defensive defenceman' be if he can't clear out the front of the net.

And we might need to have a conversation about George Parros.  When his trade was announced, I facetiously offered that he might be a better player than I am.  I'm not quite so certain any more.  He had a handful of shifts totaling less than three minutes, yet in that limited icetime managed to pick up another goal against.  So in five games and twenty minutes of icetime or so, he's - 5, with no points or shots on goal.  Now I understand the reason he was brought on, and was on board with the decision, and the Senators is exactly the kind of team he needs to be in the lineup against, but I kind of thought that with his experience he'd play his limited minutes and limited role and not hurt us while doing so.  Or at least, not any more than the average enforcer hurts his team, but this level of poor play is intolerable.

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