Well, perhaps game ones are not our forte.
In yet another atrocious display of quasi-hockey, the Habs completely failed to play anything resembling playoff hockey in this loss. There were mental errors galore, an almost complete lack of anything resembling team play, a distinct lack of desire, and seemingly little ability to accomplish the basics of the game – like giving and receiving a pass.
The highlights of the night were the couple of huge hits the Komisarek gave out, the couple of fine saves made by Garon, and the left-hander by Souray to Sarich. Now, I’m not really a proponent of fighting, so what does it say when I call that a highlight?
Fortunately there’s another six games and equally fortunately we seem to have a coach with the ability to adjust the team game to better suit his opponent, but man does he have his work cut out for him
On another note, I’d like to point out that the arena was not sold out. Playoff hockey with one of the most exciting hockey teams in years and they can’t get a sellout at this time of the season? I’m sorry, but in my NHL, that franchise is automatically revoked. The other thing, and this is for Bruin fans who might read this, the passion in the Bruins series was unequalled in the playoffs thus far – and I certainly can’t see this changing as the playoffs continue at this point. There were more viewers for the Montreal-Boston game seven than there was the Toronto-Ottawa broadcast in
Notes: (and it’s going to be ugly)
Theo: On the one hand he was hung out to dry. On the other hand: the first goal saw him too busy retrieving his stick to pay attention to the play, the third probably should have been stopped by a goalie who was keeping his team in the game, and the fourth could be argued the same. He sent rebounds into the slot and generally looked nervous and unprepared. C+
Garon: First playoff action, and while he stepped into a game already decided, he looked good. Rebounds were a bit of a problem, but he made a couple of saves that Theo would have let in on this night. B+
Bouillon: He was run around continually, held on to the puck too long and was pretty much a nuisance in the
Brisebois: I do believe I’ve said the phrase ‘simple game’ enough times for everyone to want to hit me so I won’t say it again. Suffice it to say that backhand passes through the zone while looking the other way don’t cut it. Breeze was beaten, whipped and hammered. D+
Komisarek: The positive thing is that he played physical and smacked a couple of guys really hard – that was great to see. And while he was responsible for a goal when he was caught out of position, the real negative out of this was that his 12+ minutes were better than everyone’s but Markov and Rivet. C+
Souray: Not as bad as some of the games in the Boston series, but he was dopey tonight. Mental errors galore and he left his man alone much too often. C-
Rivet: He made a couple of mistakes, but most of the rest of the defence corps made him look really good because they committed many more. Still, he was infinitely better than early in the season. B-
Markov: He made a couple of errors yet was still our best defender by a country mile. For him, it was basically an average game, and yet he still cuts out plays continually, still wins more fights for the puck than anyone else and is still so much fun to watch. Anyone see the battle with Lecavalier when the Bolt forward was attempting to round Markov. The Russian tied up Lecavalier’s stick and kicked the puck behind the net. Brilliance. B-
Sundstrom: After that performance he should go back on the injury list. I know your timing is off, but is your brain as well? F
Juneau: He’s going to have trouble with the speed in the long haul, but tonight he was okay. B-
Perreault: Used on the first and second lines at times – extensively on the second when Ribs was benched. He was good, not great, but showed a lot more passion than most of the rest of his teammates. B-
Begin: Pardon me, but where’s the beef? I was expecting him to set the tone and hammer a few bodies into the boards to let Tampa know that there was going to be a price. Good hustle, no sauce. B-
Dowd: Played a very solid defensive game. He was effective at tying up his opponent, used his speed well, and even created a little in the offensive zone. B+
Bulis: When everyone else goes to hide Bulis comes out to fly. He was skating like a maniac tonight, used it to advantage, and was one of the best attackers out there. He made things happen at both ends, was responsible defensively, and finally looks comfortable on the checking line again. B+
Dagenais: Here’s the perfect final image for the evening. Ribs was benched and Dags was awful. He made a play or two in the first and was nothing after that. F
Ribeiro: Benched. Need I say more? On a night when the team was giving away the puck like mouldy Girl Guide cookies, he was even more generous. F
Ryder: Good hustle, if nothing else. He also completely levelled someone and made them pay the price for making a play. Langdon and Dackell would have been better linemates. C+
Kovalev: Too much individual play. While the line was easily the Habs best (not saying much) they still had way too many problems stringing together three passes in a row. Kovy was probably the most effective of the three and certainly showed his superstar potential at times, but he failed to use those around him to make the line better. B
Zednik: Aside from a couple of weak efforts around the outside he was useless offensively. He did finish most of his checks tonight, which is good, but he has to give a whole lot more. C
Koivu: I’m not going to say hot and cold, because he never got that bad, but he was lukewarm far too often. Again, part of that is a function of the line not working together as much, but it’s also because he wasn’t controlling the play as much as usual. B
Julien: Didn’t play Komi enough. Benched Ribs. Has a lot of work to do.
PP: Sign of the times when Dags takes a penalty to nullify one. F
PK: Let the spotlight glow brightest here. We haven’t been scored on since game one in Boston!!! Sorry to have jinxed it. A
Team: I piffle at the thought. There was no cohesion between forwards and defence, it was like there were two units out there. Communication was atrocious and players were looking at each other like they were surprised they were on the same ice surface. They was no coverage for a player that pinched or shifted, there was little sticking to the system, and I’m guessing they may have even dressed in separate dressing rooms with the amount of teamwork they displayed. F
That was just about the worst game I’ve seen in months. Perhaps I’m holding the team to a higher standard after they beat the Bruins, but honestly, there was so little in the way of cohesive play and … for lack of a better word *talent* displayed, that it was like watching the Habs pre-outdoor game.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Julien adapts, because this Tampa team has a lot of speed and I’m not sure we have the defenders able to deal with that. Time will tell.
A Concerned Fan