I dare anyone out there who might have that on tape to stay awake and watch that five times in a row. Those fans weren’t cheering the goal at the end of the night, no way! They were cheering because they were finally allowed to go home to their beds – far more comfortable than those Bell Centre seats. If there was a more boring game out there, I haven’t seen it.
The big problem with this game is that the Canadiens took the Canes too lightly and therefore played without any intensity whatsoever. They were beaten to the puck regularly, lost almost all the one-on-one battles, were atrocious along the boards, and couldn’t concentrate enough to make simple passes half the night. Full props to the Canes for coming out and working to the end; the only reason they didn’t win is that they just can’t score a goal. I have a feeling that if Claude Julien himself had gone in the net, this game would still have been won by the Habs.
Oh, anyone else praying Gainey swings a deal for Hill?
Theo: As much as the Canes were atrocious in their finish, Theo was still there for the big stops when needed. When the Habs were struggling, a goal would have done them in, but he kept them in the running until the end. A-
Bouillon: He’s really learning how to be active with his stick. He cut out a sure goal on the PK once, and he cut out numerous plays coming through the middle as well. Nice to see. B+
Brisebois: If he’d concentrated, I bet the Habs would have won that one easily. The number of times I saw him beaten to the puck, saw him fire into a leg, miss a pass, or whiff on a shot… And yet, he played 31!! minutes of hockey tonight. That’s gotta be close to a career high and he certainly played well defensively. B+
Quintal: Takes a shot off the hand. That *has* to hurt the young champion! N/A
Dykhuis: Weell, we can certainly see why he barely played. He makes too many mental errors and is so prone to panicking that it’s scary to watch. C-
Rivet: Once again tonight he was a solid defender. He’s also one of the few who was putting out the full effort for the full game. That’s one part of his play that you can never complain about – intensity. Positionally sound and made some good plays. B+
Markov: Worked slowly into the lineup two days ago, but tonight he gets over 25 and he was great for almost all of ‘em. First thing I noticed about his game tonight was that, when someone goes to the front of the net, he immediately hooks their stick with his own. It’s a brilliant play and something others need to learn. He’s doing all those little things well again – proactive with the stick, positioning himself well. B+
Sorry, no pairings tonight since everyone was everywhere because of injuries, etc. Although, when Rivet and Markov work together, you can see that there’s a couple of years history with them.
Langdon: Career night. N/A
Begin: Can someone please, please tell Julien to use this guy more? I mean, the energy he brings to the ice every time he touches it is so pleasing. We needed more of him tonight so the pillows didn’t get quite the workout. B+
Ward: I find is so painful to watch when he goes in pell-mell at someone then falls on his butt because they step lightly to the side and he can’t turn. Imagine if this guy could skate? C+
The trio: N/A
Sundstrom: He played fourteen and a half minutes and they were the most discreet minutes I can imagine. Welcome back Captain Invisible! We’ve missed you! I’d say something glib about your invisible cape, but I couldn’t see it. C-
Dackell: Typical Dax game. Good defensive play and smart work along the boards and on the PK. He did his job and he did it well and it’s a shame that I believe he’s ticketed out of here. B-
Juneau: I’d like to point out to all those Juneau-haters that not only did he make a few offensive moves, but a couple of times he was the first back defensively as well. This was easily one of his better games and the only reason he isn’t noticed more is that he’s on a line of guys who don’t score goals. B
The trio: With apologies to Kilger, this line makes me think *shrug*. They were fine defensively, non-existent offensively, and barely noticeable most of the night. B-
Dagenais: Meet the bench. If he’s producing, fine. But when he’s neither producing nor is he even working that hard, then I don’t see the need for him, even if he is 6’5. I believe he put in a second effort precisely once all night when he tried to beat that guy one-on-one in the Carolina zone in the third. Unacceptable. D
Ryder: As usual, he was by far the hardest worker on that line and also the one who made things happen most often. If not for a few timely pokechecks, I think you’d have seen a few more goals from him alone. Great work on the winning goal, and great work all night. A rookie that outworks most of the rest of the team… B+
Ribeiro: For three periods I wanted to whack him to his butt. If there was anyone who took the Canes too lightly, it was him. Absolutely no second effort all night, half the time no first effort, it was an arrogant and pathetic showing from someone who’d come a long way. Fine, he scored the winning goal, however he did nothing to make the play happen, and only had a perfect pass hit him on the stick. Totally horrid night, as far as I’m concerned. His passing was sloppy, he had scant control when the puck was passed to him…just awful. D+ – and the plus is for the goal and the one shift in the third where they dominated.
The trio: It was just one guy tonight, so how can I give them anything but a poor mark. Ryder was left alone on this night. D
Perreault: Not only did I almost fall over from shock when he laid on the body, but when he accepted a hit to make a play, I think I died four! times. Now, his contribution was typically streaky and as usual he was about the most one-dimensional player this side of Audette, but at least he was trying to make things happen. B-
Zednik: Not half the game that he had the other night. If he’s going to get out of this slump, he has to give that massive effort every night, not just when he’s pissed off or he thinks he can make a difference. In fact, this would have been the perfect night to make it all happen. C
Koivu: Two posts, six minutes of penalties, a few strong passes that weren’t converted, and a typical game from the captain. He worked hard at both ends, never gave up, and should have been rewarded for his efforts much more than he was. A-
The trio: Not bad, and certainly the one trio that seemed to be able to sustain anything all night. They got pinned deep once, however they managed to do it to the opposition a few times. Mind you, against a team like this I would have expected more, and I have a feeling the communication just wasn’t where it should have been. B
Julien: I’m disappointed because they came out flat in the second and third and that should never happen when you’re in the thick of a playoff race. He’s got to find a way to motivate the guys to at least give full efforts out there.
Overall: Well, they got the win (good) but it wasn’t pretty (bad). The defence was solid, the offence pathetic. Let’s call this one a C+ overall and quickly forget it (should be easy).
Oh it’s games like this that worry me the most. How you can come out with that little intensity and hope to win games is totally beyond me. Against many other teams we’d have lost that game, it was just that Carolina can’t score goals that we managed to win it.
Jersey is up next, and they will murder us with that effort, even if they’re in a bit of a slump. We’ve got to keep playing the strong defensive game positionally as we did tonight, but add to that some intensity on the boards, and then some offence, then we should have a chance. Then again, it’s Jersey: bring a pillow.