It’s time for "Cooking up a
Loss in Atlanta!" First, add a bunch of defensive breakdowns; then sprinkle in a
bit of bad luck; and add a large dose of elite goaltending by Kari Lehtonen.
Throw it in the oven for 60 minutes, and voila, this game is done! Missed
defensive assignments were the undoing of Montreal, with a couple 1st half
blunders that put them down early. Atlanta capitalized on every major miscue
Montreal made and alas, the Habs couldn’t reciprocate. After Carey Price
relieved Jaroslav Halak in net during the 2nd, it seemed Montreal remembered how
to play hockey. But although the opportunities were there, it seemed that no
bounces went the Canadiens way as they outworked and outplayed Atlanta in
the 3rd, but came out with no goals in the final period. You get the feeling the
Habs would have won this one if hockey games lasted 4 periods. Sadly, this was a
loss to a team they should beat every time.
B He looked a bit like a fish
out of water, and I’m not just referring to his final formation after the big
save in the 2nd. His puckhandling was suspect, and he overcommitted on the
Thrashers 4th goal. The only difference between him and Halak was that Price
made some important saves when Montreal needed it, and it was a pretty good
showing for coming in cold and after a long absence from the rink. That being
said, a better performance will be needed against New Jersey.
B- Let’s be fair here, Halak
didn’t deserve the pull. Sure, the first goal was weak, but it was an average
night at worst for Jaroslav. My only guess is that Carbonneau thought putting
Price in would help cause a sea-change in the the Habs play. It almost paid off.
This was a fantastic game
by Brisebois. He had good body position in his own zone, and did I see him lay
out a Thrasher during the final PK? One of his most consistent positives to his
game is he knows when to shoot for the net, and when to shoot for the player. If
Gorges can learn just one thing from Patrice, it’s shot selection.
Tough break if the puck
did in fact go in off his skate for Atlanta’s 4th goal. He played a good
positional game the entire night.
It seems every time he shoots the puck he either slaps it wide or wrists it when
no one is screening. It would be nice to see some of his shots from the point
lead to scoring opportunities, but he’s not there to get points for his team,
he’s there to prevent points for the other team. In that regard, he was fine.
His aggressive pinches in
the 3rd paid off almost every time, as they led to multiple scoring
opportunities. His defensive game seemed off, but he appeared to make up for
every mistake he made.
He got pushed around a
lot, which isn’t anything new, but he got pushed down a lot, and that’s not
usual. I like seeing him jump into the rush, but his regularly failed
offensive attempts only magnify the need for another puck moving D-man in
He had the first half from
hell. One bad giveaway, then he left his man alone in front for Atlanta’s 2nd
goal, and finally tripped over his own skate just before their 3rd goal. You
could see he tried to make up for it by jumping into the rush more often than
usual, but this is a game you won’t include on his career highlight reel.
What a hit on Schneider!
Plus, he plunked his butt right in front of Lehtonen on the powerplay, and
picked up the garbage in front for a goal. Montreal needs more goals like that,
and it appears Patches can provide it.
I don’t know what it is about his game that makes me want to say this, but in
the final minute of a game
with the Habs needing a goal, I want the puck on Andrei’s stick. It just seems
that every time he shoots, you think the puck is going in. If he continues to
mature into his potential, Montreal may not need Alex Kovalev next season.
Perhaps George Gillett
will sign Begin to Liverpool? Personally, I didn’t think it was a valid goal
(and apparently neither did Steve) but I won’t complain. He’s been the best
temporary 4th line centerman option for the Habs since the rash of injuries.
I liked his idea on the
partial breakaway. Everyone in the building thought he was going to shoot, and
it was a surprise that almost worked. He was the best player on his line.
he continues to find D’Agostini in front of the net off the down-low cycle, he
can stay. It’s something Kyle Chipchura failed to do, and Stewart has picked up
One of his quieter games,
but not a bad one.
He has tremendous second
effort when he has the puck, but got a bit lazy on the backcheck. He let Ilya
Kovulchuck past him that led to a good chance. On the other hand, it’s Ilya
Kovulchuck, so I possibly shouldn’t be focusing on Sergei at that point.
On one hand, I liked his creativity on the ice. I think he caused problems for
the opposing team, and he created energy with his plays. On the other hand, he
bailed on a partial 2 on 1 in favour of moving for a drop pass that didn’t come. Tomas, use
your speed and drive the freaking net and look for a rebound! Best case
scenario, you score. Good case scenario, you draw a penalty. Worse case
scenario, you don’t score, but that’s still better than a soft peel off to the
Atlanta’s first goal
developed from Latendresse not skating. It led to a 3-on-2 (the first of many
Atlanta had that night) and it was Gui’s man that scored the goal. His only
positives in the game were his steady forecheck, and knocking down a Thrasher
who tried to hit him. The ongoing development into a power forward continues,
but it was pretty clear to see why he’s the only member of his line that doesn’t
get PK time.
This was the D-Squad to
get creative against, and he did, but ultimately his moves went nowhere. He shot
the puck at the net 3 times (none connected), and that just isn’t enough from
the player who is one of your points leaders.
He’s going to need to come out with a consistent effort every game in order to
keep his spot in Montreal, but my bet is he’s the first one shipped back to
Hamilton once a forward comes back from injury.
He’s developed good
chemistry with his linemates, and they had an impressive cycle in the first.
Unfortunately, Lang’s main contribution was as a momentum killer with bad
penalties; once on the powerplay, and once with four minutes remaining in the
game. It’s unacceptable from a veteran.
The simple play led to a
goal. I’ll repeat that with more importance in hopes the players get the
message: THE SIMPLE PLAY LED TO A GOAL.
For the most part, Atlanta couldn’t even set up a play or gain the zone. That’s
effective penalty killing.