Another stellar game to watch if you like curling up with your fluffiest pillow and letting the drool roll as your eyes roll into the back of your head, your mind turning to dreams of fast cars, big money, and anything but hockey. The Canadiens turned in a second consecutive lacklustre affair where they managed only about eight minutes of solid hockey – albeit an improvement on their five from last night.
There were far too many miscues, far too many mental lapses, and far too many defensive errors to have had any chance against a Senators team that played it’s best game in a month. If you’re gong to play the best team in hockey, you have to have your ‘A’ game, and not your shinny game on display. It’s almost like there’s a complete lack of cohesion going on amongst the players – as well as amongst the neurons in most player’s heads.
Theo: There were none of the game-saving saves that one might expect on a night like tonight. The first couple of goals were ones that he might have had when he was at his sharpest, but on this night they served to send early nails into the Habs coffin. Interesting that, on first games back after taking a game or two off, he once again struggled with his rebounds, letting out far too many on shots where he would normally have smothered the puck. B
Bouillon: He was probably the steadiest rearguard tonight, though even his game wasn’t spotless. A couple of mental errors and some missed plays were evident, though it was nothing worse than anyone else. B-
Quintal: Pray that Souray’s injury isn’t to his wrist and that he can take the place of someone like this very, very soon. That play on the third goal where he dropped to his knees and completely misplayed the puck was brutal. Typically, other than that, he got the run around with the faster players and was run out of position a few times. C-
Dykhuis: He made his mistakes, but I can’t complain. For a depth defenseman stepping in, his 12+ minutes were just fine, thank you very much. I don’t think anyone can expect a whole lot more. B
Rivet: Definitely not his best game either. That first goal was a result of him not taking his man on both the original *and* the rebound shot – poorly done. The penalty he took, nailing Alfie in the back of the head, is one that may get a look from the league because of how vicious it was. C+
Komisarek: What does it say about both the player and the rest of the defence when Komisarek plays 16+ minutes against the Sens, is only -1 on a night when almost everyone was victimized, and was easily the best defender along the boards despite his lack of experience? While almost everyone else can hang their head in shame, Komi can be pleased with yet another positive game of improvements. B
Markov: Despite his rather large negative in the +/- column, he was responsible for only one goal, the Alfie first goal where he failed to take the Sens star on the sideboards and left him to walz in on Theo alone. The other two goals while he was on had nothing to do with him at all, and in fact he was pretty good for the rest of the night, though occasionally made a few brain dead errors. B-
Ward: If Begin is ready to make it back next game, I look to Wardo to sit. He was virtually unnoticeable tonight and I’m not sure if he even threw a hit, and when that’s your job, you’re a complete failure. D
Dowd: I have nothing wrong with his game, though I don’t think the coach put him in any kind of position to succeed. While Juneau comes back and gets to play with his normal line, Dowd gets relegated and plays with a mishmash of players yet still manages to be somewhat effective. B-
Dackell: A solid game defensively and one of only three forwards to remain even on the night – with his linemates. Yes, the line creates nothing offensively, but as a shut-down crew, they’re at least effective and solid. One-dimensional, but they won’t cost you. B-
Sundstrom: He was nailed once and got mad, then hit everything in sight for the next couple of plays. I think before each shift someone should cross check him on the Hab bench to get him going. Good defence, nothing else. B-
Juneau: Steps back after a few days rest and his legs looked a little better. Certainly his defence was great and his ability to think on the ice was wonderful – I love his experience back there. B
Perreault: Oh the fall from grace is a long and bumpy one. From solid first-line guy down to man without a position. (Which is the reason I don’t mark lines anymore – since there aren’t any.) Tonight, aside from his first shift, he was dismal. I see suits in his future. D
Kovalev: I’m not sure why he was booed over, say, Perreault or Ward or (the list could go on), but he was. Well done, I say to the beery swine that have little knowledge of hockey other than perhaps a personal distaste for those whose name is something different, well done indeed. If he was enjoying his stay in Montreal, you’ve probably dented that quite nicely. No, no, don’t worry about the fact that he has the flu and that it takes time for someone like him to adapt and fit into a new system after playing shinny with the Rangers all year long, no need for patience at all. Vilify him now, I say! But don’t stop there, nay, pray stone him in the streets for not scoring six goals on each night. … Honestly, he didn’t have a bad game at all, in fact he was one of the few forwards who made anything happen. Yes, he held on to the puck too long at times, but when everyone else on the ice is asleep, he might as well try something. I fail to understand the boos at all, since he was one of about three or four who actually created scoring chances. Most knowledgeable fans in hockey. Can you hear me snorting?
Ribeiro: On and off night. Some shifts were good and he looked wonderful making things happen and making his typical seeing-eye passes. Other shifts he melted into obscurity. This is the time he’s got to step it up…we’re waiting. C+
Ryder: Still had a few solid attempts and still finished his checks and worked. However, it wasn’t his best night and there were a couple of occasions where he actually didn’t put in his typical fourth effort on a play, instead stopping at three. B
Bulis: He had the most chances on goal and was robbed a few times by Lalime. His speed and positioning afforded him space and the ability to create things and while he was hardly perfect, he at least did more than most. B
Zednik: Every time he tried going around the outside of a defender (which was every time he skated into the Ottawa zone) he was hammered into the wall. I wonder if he got the feeling it wasn’t working? Perhaps Mr.One-Trick Pony would like to try something else once in a blue moon. C-
Koivu: He had a few shifts where he was very dangerous, but on the whole his night mirrored that of the rest of the team. There were a couple of mental errors and a few times where the concentration lapsed and he had pucks falling off his stick – which normally doesn’t happen. B-
Julien: I think all the changes and lack of continuity he’s given to the team have been wonderful for chemistry and confidence. I like the way no one has any clue who he’s going to be out there with from one shift to the next and I particularly love the way he’s found a place for Kovalev to work himself into the lineup rather than just throw him out there expecting the ‘star’ to make it on his own.
PP: The first power play was great, five shots, plenty of chances. The rest were worse than dismal. C-
PK: On the other hand, they were perfect against a very dangerous club – at least something was working on this night. A
Team: There was a real lack of cohesion out there, especially in the final two periods. I think they let that first goal against the flow of the play really get to them, rather than doing what they’ve been doing for the last month, and that’s forgetting it and getting on with things. There were also too many odd-man rushes for the Sens, and that tells me that forwards, and in some instances defenders, were getting greedy and not playing within the system. C-
Time to crack the whip and do a no puck practice for these guys since they’ve forgotten what it takes to win games – or to even play more than about eight minutes in one. This kind of effort is going to get us nowhere fast, and as the playoffs approach, it’s a worry to see the team fall apart like this. There certainly won’t be any third round games at this rate – we’d be lucky not to be swept.
And just to make things even better, we head to the lion’s den – or, if they wear those pus-coloured shirts – the Den that Pooh Built for a game against the Bruins on Saturday night. If we got hammered by the Sens tonight at home, just think of the carnage that could come to pass in Boston on Saturday. Let’s hope that Begin comes back, because at least he can give the team a spark when needed.
A Concerned Fan