The Montreal Canadiens faced the New York Islanders Sunday amid a raging blizzard that will see 15 inches of snow being dumped in the area. The weather will also force the Habs to stay overnight in NY, and try to get to Washington on Monday for Tuesday’s game vs. the Capitals.
The first period was like a déjà vu of the Carolina game. The Habs seemed to have a slight edge over the Islanders, with multiple breakaways and excellent chances, but failed to convert. They lacked finish and opportunism throughout the entire game. Blake Comeau scored at 11:04 when he beat Carey on a breakaway. Neither Alexandre Picard nor Yannick Weber could make it back in time to break up the play.
The Habs still had a chance in the second, firing 16 shots at Dwayne Roloson, but they couldn’t put one past him. The Canadiens had a close call when the puck appeared to have crossed the line behind Price early in the second, but it was waved off. Momentum should have shifted to the Habs, but they failed to connect, even on a power play at 9:00 of the second. Michael Grabner scored at 18:18 on another breakaway when Picard turned the puck over in the neutral zone.
The Canadiens appeared to completely disassemble in the third, endlessly turning over the puck, losing battles, and giving the Islanders countless odd-man rushes. Before the period was two minutes old, Max Pacioretty took a major penalty and a game misconduct for boarding. P.A. Parenteau scored, and then Scott Gomez took a penalty for tripping Wisnewski on the PK. Wisnewski proceeded to make it 4-0 and it was game over the Habs. Tomas Plekanec finally snapped one past Roloson with 12:09 to go in the third, but the Habs failed to muster another goal, never mind a comeback, even with a PP at 7:33. The game ended with Lars Eller in the box for interference.
HW 3 Stars of the Night
First Star – Lars Eller: Full value for his 9:12 on the ice, Eller made excellent plays and appeared engaged and alert.
Second Star – Max Pacioretty: Until he got a game misconduct for boarding, Max was having a great game, skating and hitting and going to the net. Too bad it ended early for him.
Third Star – Brian Gionta: His pass for Gomez on what looked like a sure goal, combined with his 4 shots and endless effort all over the ice in a losing battle reminds us why he’s wearing the C.
Notes: The D looked slow, old and tired against the Islanders. Josh Gorges is most definitely playing hurt, and I can’t figure out why the Habs don’t rest him for a few nights. With every passing game Gorges seems to be worsening. The entire D, come to think of it, should be rotated, allowing everyone a chance to catch their breath. In this post-Markov, pre-Subban era, the D needs help badly.
The Canadiens lacked discipline vs. the Islanders. Execution was a huge problem. The shots were 39-25 but when you factor in blocked and missed shots, the Habs had a huge advantage over the Islanders but could not score. Bad positioning led to goals against, and cost them the game.