Friday, 15 November 2013

Game 20: Canadiens 3, Blue Jackets 2 (SO)

The Canadiens are stumbling a little bit, they've missed some players due to injuries and others have gone cold, so a game on the road against the Blue Jackets isn't a walk in the park, but it's the kind of game they still have to win to have any kind of success this season and into the playoffs.  Simply put, this was two points for the taking, and the Canadiens, while not firing on all cylinders, managed to snag them with a 3-2 shootout win.

They started off in a hole, going down 2-0 on unlucky pinball-machine type goals in the first period, but Alex Galchenyuk maybe saved the game when he hustled on the forecheck in the dying seconds, stripped a fumbling Fedor Tyutin of the puck and put it in on an overmatched Curtis McElhinney.  If nothing else, Alex demonstrated on the play that the Canadiens aren't the only team icing a roster with defencemen who aren't perfect.

In the second, the Canadiens tied it up on a powerplay goal.  Andrei Markov set it up with a shot on goal that yielded a rebound to Daniel Brière, who failed to cash it in, but produced a rebound of his own, one which Lars Eller buried.  The RDS crew mentioned how the Canadiens have adapted their powerplay to the coverage they're receiving.  With Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban terrorizing goalies at the start of the season, but no forwards inspiring the same respect, penalty kill teams have been pressuring the Canadiens defencemen heavily, trying to prevent them from unleashing the big bombs.  P.K. and Andrei have adapted by trying to get quick screened shots off, instead of slapshots, and tonight it worked.  Still, it would be nice if Tomas Plekanec, Daniel Brière, Max Pacioretty and other putative scorers started burying some chances and relieved the figurative and literal pressure on the d-men, they shouldn't have to convert perfect one-timers for the powerplay to work.

There were no goals the rest of the way, it rested on David Desharnais to score the shootout winner, and on Peter Budaj to stop all three Columbus shooters he faced.  Much was made on RDS of the boost this could provide to David's confidence, and how it could serve to get him going.  We can all hope as much, we can't very well go through four seasons of this kind of impotent play from him.

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