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Another game another loss, that was the story tonight for the Montreal Canadiens. Except for a small stretch during the 2nd period the Habs barely mustered any offense once again, and Claude Julien can keep switching lines but it won’t change the fact that his forwards aren’t producing… they are ALL cold.


The only thing that could bail this team out is a good power-play, but all night long the Islanders were getting the better chances when they were a man down.



Islanders 1-0: Kvasha comes in at the blue line and let’s a shot go, Souray for some reason leaves his stick on the ice. What would have been a harmless shot deflects and beats a surprised Theodore who’s left looking at Souray as to say “what was that?”.

They teach you that in peewee, and on a team that can barely score one goal per night… it becomes a monumental mistake.  


Montreal 1-1: The only way the Habs managed to get some good chances were with an aggressive forecheck. Perreault & Ribeiro forced the play behind the net, Ribeiro retrieved the puck and feeds Dackell in the slot… who doesn’t miss his chance and buries it in the top of the net over a sprawling Garth Snow.

On the very next shift the Hossa-Bégin-Ryder applied the same kind of pressure, and they nearly scored as well. Sadly, from that point on the Habs went back to their passive system with 4 men back and never tested Snow for the rest of the night.

Why not go with what was working? Especially once you’re behind? Ask Claude Julien.


Islanders 2-1:  Asham enters the zone but his pass partially blocked by Brisebois and it filps in the air. It hits Peca in the chest, and he goes to retrieve the puck before Juneau can cover him. He then sends it in front of the net, where Souray somehow gets turned around and loses Parrish who’s left now left alone in front of Theo and he gives his team the lead once again.


Islanders 3-1: Habs pull Theo with 1 minute left, Souray has the puck at the red line and can’t even manage to get his shoot-in past the blue line where it was blocked… then moved to Blake who scores in the empty net.





         This defensive system Claude Julien is using is a passive system, aimed to rest his small players on defense so they can have more energy on the offensive end. Trouble is they waste all their energy working the cycle in the corner or behind the net, and unless the opposition really have a breakdown in defensive coverage… no forwards are beating their man 1-on-1 to bring the puck to the front of the net. Their best offensive chances, and their only goal, came from an aggressive 2-man forecheck… I don’t understand why they don’t adopt that style of play, especially once they fall behind. Instead we finish with a whimper, a total of 5 shots in the 3rd period… 

         The Canadiens actually outshot the Islanders 29-26. The Islanders didn’t do that much either, although Theo did have to make a few very tough saves while Snow barely worked up a sweat.



Habs’ hero: We’ll give it to Theodore, if not for 2 key Souray mistakes he’d have a shutout. He made a few highlight reel saves to keep his team in it until the very end. Nobody else on the Habs side stood out, it was a collective ho-hum performance.

I guess I should add Dackell who actually did what the supposed “offensive” forwards haven’t been able to do for quite a while… score. He also hit the post ealier in the game. It’s quite sad, but he’s the Habs top RW at the moment.


Habs’ zero: For the first time, Sheldon Souray. He wasn’t focused tonight, on the first goal he left his stick in the way of the shot for no good reason and deflected it past Theo… that’s just lack of concentration. Then he loses his man in front for no good reason and the Islanders take the lead again after Dackell had tied it. Even on one of the power-plays he let Blake steal the puck from him and go in alone on Theo… it was just a bad night from beginning to end.

The loss is on him tonight, more than anyone else.



Final Thoughts:


Coffee sales must be up in Quebec, because I don’t how else Habs fans have been staying awake lately. Maybe the Habs can bring in Nescafe as a new sponsor, and perhaps use that new money to sign a player that can… hmm I don’t know, score?


In the meantime, Claude Julien must be having some sleepless nights… because things aren’t getting any better no matter who he leaves in or out of the lineup. When you see behind the bench looking up, he’s not looking at the clock or a replay on the big screen, he’s looking at Gainey in the press-box pleading for him to find him some help.


So now we’ll see who will sit the next game… but at this point does it really matter?