Sorry for the delay in blogs, but after the Edmonton game I was tired and more than a little irate. That being said, here's my view on this Albertan road swing so far.
Habs vs Oilers
There are games you win that you shouldn't and then there are those you lose that you should have won. Make no mistake, the Habs were the better team even though the outcome was one-sided. Let's take a deeper look.
I believe that the entire game turned on the disallowed goal. I think the refs were a little home team biased and this was the epitome of that. I'm not saying that Gallagher didn't contact the goalie, but he was shoved in, and the goalie had ample time to get back into the play. Afterwards the Habs wouldn't be able to hit twine again..
I had thought that the logical choice was Price in Edmonton, Tokarski in Calgary and then Price in Vancouver. It made sense since then Price would get an extra day of rest between games. Instead Therrien went with Tokarski defying all logic and Tokarski looked shaky. His rebound control was awful, his movements seemed unsure and that second goal was a case of him losing track of the puck and play.
Here are the players that I want to hightlight;
Alex Galchenyuk - If he's not the scoring leader by the end of the year I would be shocked. He demonstrated some of the sickest hands and passing ability, but he needs to bury some of the chances he's getting.
Brendan Prust - This was the first game I've really noticed him all year. His compete level was off the charts and other than Galchenyuk I can't pick out a harder working Hab.
Max Pacioretty - His level of effort was questionable. He's supposed to be the Habs best scoring threat, but it seemed like he was just going through the motions.
On the bright side the penalty kill keeps getting better. Now if only the Habs could score on the powerplay things would continue to align. Is it time to look at a new formation on the powerplay or maybe replacing the same inept special teams coach from last season? The Habs have all the tools to be great on the powerplay, but they're really trailing the pack.
Lastly, WTF is with the refs protecting the opposing team's goalies, but it seems to be a free ride in the Habs net?
Final score 3-0 Habs lose...
Habs vs Flames
And then there are games you should lose and you win.
Playing the second game of a back to back is sometime difficult for team to raise their level to that of the opponent. Tonight's game was one of those. I felt that the habs were chasing the play all night long. There were heavily out-shot and out-chanced, but they are money right now in overtime and the shootout.
This game came down to two things. Goaltending and the penaltykill. It's beyond disconcerting that the Habs are unable to score first in a game, this being the 8th time in 10 games that they allow their opponent to score first. That stat is simply mind boggling when you look at the Habs record of 8-2-0.
The powerplay was again anemic, but the penaltykill was outstanding. They gave up some quality scoring chances, but sometimes your best penaltykiller is your goalie and Price was exceptional tonight.
Let's take a look at the players I want to single out tonight.
Carey Price - He couldn't be more valuable to this team unless he scored the goals himself. Easily the best player on the ice tonight, and perhaps one of the only Habs to actually show up. He stole these points. Sorry Flames fans.
Finally I'm not completely certain about how much heat Tinordi should face for that collision with Stajan. He's much bigger, wider and stronger than Stajan, plus he had the puck and was trying to get around Stajan. It looks like he led with his knee, but he was skating forwards... I'm not going to say it was clean either. I'm just uncertain, but willing to give him the benefit of the doubt since he had the puck.
Let's take these two stolen points and get out of Alberta. Next up is Vancouver.
Final Score 2-1 Habs win in the shootout!
As always feel free to comment below.
Thanks for reading,