Friday, 18 November 2016

Game 18: Canadiens 2, Hurricanes 3

Another game watched on RDS' 'Canadiens Express', another pennywise, tone-deaf win for Gary Bettman.  It was hard to focus on the game  rather than fiddle with my fantasy football teams in preparation for Sunday.  My excitement level might have symbiosed with the tepid buzz to be found in the half-empty Hurricanes rink.

A fumbled opportunity to bank two points against a weak sister.  While the Canadiens outshot the 'Canes 33-18, they lost 3-2.

Some fleeting observations:

--Early on, I noticed Carey Price was a little off in his puck-handling, not in sync with his defencemen as to how to circulate the puck, until I reminded myself that this was an Al Montoya game.  

Pierre Houde mentioned that the Hurricanes were facing their sixth consecutive backup goalie, opposing teams marking them on their calendar as an opportunity to rest their #1 goalies.

--The first few injuries/illness that the Canadiens have suffered have sucked a lot of the life out the lineup, the teeth from the offence.  In the pre-game show on RDS, Éric Bélanger and Gaston Therrien argued that a player like Charles Hudon needed "une vraie chance", a real opportunity to show what he can do, meaning a chance to play in the Top 6 or at least Top 9, with offensively-talented linemates.

But that's not what happened.  It's hard to follow the flow of the game, the line combinations throughout the contest on Canadiens Express, but it appeared that Torrey Mitchell played with Daniel Carr and Charles for much of the game?  

It's easy to dissect the corpse afterwards, but if I'm to coach from my comfy couch, you have to wonder if the Canadiens wouldn't be better off giving Alex Galchenyuk Daniel Carr and Charles Hudon as his wingers, and leaving the fourth line, which was flying so far this season, untouched and to even increase its time on the ice while the other forwards convalesce.  

--Pierre Houde mentioned along the way that Nathan Beaulieu's game lacked consistency, that he was making errors, and sure enough as this was being discussed he had a minor bobble with the puck.  Nothing serious, but it demonstrated that Nate isn't yet the sure-handed puck-mover we dream he'll become.

--I had the time to formulate the thought in the third that this was the type of game in which Andrew Shaw could earn his stripes, could lead the team to a comeback, when it needed a spark, a lift, and sure enough, on that rush, he tipped in the Andrei Markov feed, a play he had started with a dropback pass.

He took a bad penalty in the final minutes though, in the offensive zone, as les Glorieux tried to mount a furious and just comeback, and I guess as he vociferously debated the merit of this call with the esteemed referee, earned another minor for the heat of his take?  

So he gets half a star then?

--Seeing Al Montoya wobble on the first two lucky, bouncy goals by Carolina and then topple on the third goal allowed, a shot he should have saved, it's hard for this fan to wonder if there are still scars that haven't healed yet after the 10-0 debacle in Columbus.

--Chris Terry would have been well advised to produce tonight against his old team, and get a firmer purchase on a NHL perch, to guard against backsliding all the way down to St. John's.

--"Un match bizarre", as Pierre Houde opined as the final horn sounded.  Like the horror movie where you kind of killed the monster/bad guy, but not really, he's just resting his eyes/regrowing new tentacles and slime pods.  When he was down and out, we should have gone and cut its head off or thrown it into the volcano to make sure, not futzed around with the radio or brushing back the hair on the heroine and whispering sweet nothings to her.

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