Thursday April 25th, 2013
Game Recap: With the Jets having nothing to play for, they handed the Canadiens home-ice for a playoff round.
| MONTREAL CANADIENS
4th in the East
9th in the East
|1||1||9:10||EV||WPG||17 J.WRIGHT(2)||22 C.THORBURN(2)|
|2||2||9:54||EV||MTL||17 R.BOURQUE(7)||27 A.GALCHENYUK(17)||81 L.ELLER(19)|
|3||2||14:43||EV||WPG||26 B.WHEELER(19)||18 B.LITTLE(25)||33 D.BYFUGLIEN(20)|
|4||3||2:07||EV||MTL||11 B.GALLAGHER(14)||81 L.ELLER(20)||42 J.TINORDI(2)|
|5||3||7:57||PP||MTL||51 D.DESHARNAIS(10)||76 P.SUBBAN(26)||79 A.MARKOV(19)|
|6||3||10:50||EV||MTL||67 M.PACIORETTY(15)||76 P.SUBBAN(27)|
Shots on Goal:
SA : 30
- Habs starting six: David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, Josh Gorges, Raphael Diaz, Carey Price
- Scratched: Tomas Kaberle, Gabriel Dumont, Davis Drewiske, Mike Blunden, Alexei Emelin, Ryan White, Travis Moen, Petteri Nokelainen, Nathan Beaulieu, Yannick Weber, Greg Pateryn, Michael Bournival, Louis Leblanc, Dustin Tokarski, Robert Mayer
What you need to know:
The Canadiens have clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs with a come from behind win over the Winnipeg Jets.
That will be the headline from Thursday night’s game and perhaps we shouldn’t probe too much deeper. You know, the “all’s well that ends well” thing. Yet that doesn’t come close to telling the real story.
There’s no joy in raining on anyone’s parade. Toast the three goals in the third period, celebrate the Habs win and rejoice that Saturday’s game will not be a showdown for home-ice advantage with the Leafs. But before we get too carried away about the rebirth of the Canadiens, it would be wise to consider the turning point of the game.
That moment did not occur on the ice, at least not on the MTS Centre ice surface. With Winnipeg enjoying a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes, they learned that their season was over given overtime wins by Ottawa and the New York Rangers. It didn’t take long, just 2:07 into the third period, to confirm that the heads of the Jets were elsewhere — goaltender Ondrej Pavelec bobbled a Brendan Gallagher shot with the puck dribbling into the net.
A gift for sure but Winnipeg was not finished with their generosity handing the Canadiens a 5-on-3 power-play. The Habs cashed in for the winning goal.
It wasn’t looking so rosy early on in this game. The Canadiens problems in their own zone were again evident with the defense being unable to cope with the aggressive play of the Jets forwards. Under stress:
- Francis Bouillon was too easily knocked off the puck.
- Raphael Diaz roamed out of position.
- P.K. Subban was irresponsible with his decisions.
- Andrei Markov doesn’t have the wheels to cover his partner.
And let’s be clear, the Habs are not complacent. They worked hard, but not smart and in a very individualistic way. Their performance was directly opposite to the ‘team concept’ approach so often referenced by Michel Therrien.
A win yes, but it would seem that the Canadiens have yet to exorcise their demons.
Two bright spots that deserve attention were the play of Jarred Tinordi and Carey Price.
Tinordi entered the game with a huge burden to stabilize the shaky penalty-kill and to bring back a physical presence to the defense. The Canadiens were perfect on two occasions when shorthanded with Tinordi playing a solid 1:40. The only caveat here is that the Jets are 29th in the league on the power-play. As for physical play, Tinordi delivered seven of Montreal’s 16 hits.
Carey Price had a superb game keeping his team close particularly in the first two periods with the Habs giving up high-quality scoring chances.
In addition to trying to remedy the flaws for the playoffs, coach Therrien has an interesting decision to make. Does he play his A-lineup on Saturday night in Toronto with a hope to winning the Northeast? Or does he choose to rest some key players so they will be fresh when the playoffs begin?
When asked Therrien replied, “We still have a shot to finish in second place [in the conference.]”
- No new injuries.
|NHL Three Stars|
Coach Michel Therrien:
- “We came to play the game. We had desperation. We had some jam in our game. That’s the team that I saw playing most of the time this season.”
- “[Carey Price] made the difference. He made key saves at the right time. After a few guys turned the puck over he was there to shut the door.”
- “[I told Jarred Tinordi] ‘You have an opportunity. Take it.’ We’re looking for a presence on defense. I want him to be a leader. He played really well.””
- “[Carey Price] has had a great season. He’s our best player. He’s our leader. Again tonight, he was our best player.”
- “Personally, I’m just glad we were able to put together 60 minutes tonight for our goaltender. He’s stood on his head all year for us and I think it’s safe to say that we pretty much left him out to dry over the past five games. He played unbelievable tonight. I don’t think we helped him out as much as we would have liked, but he did the job and made some big saves when he had to and it was great to be able to give him a 60-minute effort.”
- “It’s a big win against a desperate team. It’s huge. Home ice is really big in the playoffs. … You keep forcing plays, you keep being relentless on the puck, eventually they’re going to turn it over and they’re going to get tired and we took advantage in the third.”
Jets forward Blake Wheeler:
- “I’m going to have a hard time drawing on any positives you know, when you’re going home and watching the important hockey being played from your couch again. Hopefully we can all look in the mirror and make a change, I think we’re on the right path, but ninth place is a first-class ticket home.”
Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec:
- “We knew after the second we are out. It’s not an excuse at all but it’s tough to play when you know you’ve got 20 minutes left in the season.”
Follow @All_Habs on Twitter