Thursday, 13 March 2014

Game 67: Canadiens 1, Bruins 4

I'm put off seeing Milan Lucic beating on our big defenceman.  Tonight, it seemed he was trying to komisarek Alexei Emelin.  And the Bruins shook off a long streak of futility against nos Glorieux and easily beat them on the scoreboard, so much so that they didn't really ambush us in the alley.

I noted there were three francophone officials for the game, and I assumed they're all from Québec, and therefore could be accused of favouritism while working a Canadiens game at the New Forum.  So I wondered if they'd bend over backward to not seem biased.  Sure enough, Milan Lucic ran Alexei from behind into the boards, when he didn't have the puck, twice, and subsequently scored on one of these instances.  There were no whistles on these plays.  The refs had a good look at the assaults, but other things on their minds.

Meanwhile, Lars got tagged with a boarding call on Jordan Caron on a check that was much milder.  It was also laughable how the Bruin tried to embellish, falling to the ice like an extra in a cheesy Western, but then after two beats getting up with suddenly clear spirits, all ornery and seeking justice, which he obtained by punching/facewashing big bad Brendan Gallagher.  I'm sure Mr. Caron was a nice boy who loves his mother and was a great kid growing up, but after a few years as a Bruin, he's been assimilated into the Borg, and is now a cheat and cheapshot artist and thug and bully and scoundrel.  Resistance is futile.

At the start of the season, there were hopes that the Canadiens would score by committee.  Lacking an Ovie or Sidney, we'd rely on three scoring lines, share the load, the defencemen would join in the attack and pitch in, we'd get the job done somehow.  Well, the scoring has cooled off gradually as the season progressed, but we palliated with timely powerplay goals.  Now that the powerplay has gone south, and only one line is a threat, we're approaching the crisis stage.  RDS showed a graphic showing that the Canadiens are 29th in the league in 5-on-5 scoring, ahead of only Buffalo.

Tomas Vanek needs to find his game and help turn this around.  I'm not at the panic stage with him, he's had too brief an opportunity for us to start pointing fingers.  And we are relatively healthy in the forwards, all things considered, meaning we can't really blame injuries, but I think getting back Michaël Bournival will be a great help.  The fourth line seemed toothless tonight, the combo of Ryan White, Brandon Prust and Travis Moen is a bit too slow of foot to cause headaches to the opposition.  And coach Therrien can play René Bourque and Daniel Brière off each other, starting one or the other based on the opponents and the results they obtain.  Like tonight, for example, Daniel didn't get on the scoreboard, so let's try René against Ottawa.

Carey can't come back soon enough.  While Peter Budaj had done great work so far spelling Carey during back-to-backs, he's been disappointing while carrying the load.  A .875 save percentage isn't going to cut it, on any night.  He again gave up at least one bad goal.  To give the Canadiens a chance, he needed to make saves, not give up three goals in the second.

With two games coming up against Ottawa and Buffalo, the boys have a chance to right the ship and pick up four points, get back to cruising speed.  While it will be a back-to-back weekend, with travel to play the Sabres, no team has an easy schedule right now, so we can't use a jaunt to upstate New York as an excuse.  Anything short of four points after this series of insuccess will be a disappointment.

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