Stanley Cup Playoffs | First Round
Game 6 | Saturday April 22, 2017 | Rangers win series 4-2  

Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

1-3

RANGERS
New York

(Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings 

Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Flynn – Byron
King – Ott – McCarron

Markov – Weber
Emelin – Petry
Davidson – Benn

Goaltenders

Price
Montoya

Scratches

Torrey Mitchell, Nathan Beaulieu, Andreas Martinsen, Andrew Shaw, Nikita Nesterov

Injured Reserve

Game Report

The season is over, much too early. And there will be time to look back, and ahead. But for now, let’s focus on this series.

For many so-called Habs fans, Max Pacioretty has become public enemy number one. ‘No heart,’ they say. ‘Too soft!’

So in the first five minutes of game 6, when the captain showed his heart and grit by taking down the Rangers Jimmy Vesey, the narrative is hastily changed: “Seven minutes in the penalty box, in an elimination game. Stupid.”

Yes, moving the goal posts always works when caught in an unsupportable fairytale. 

Here is the truth.

Max Pacioretty is the Canadiens top goal scorer and he had to be better in the series for the Habs to advance. But Pacioretty is one of very few threats for Montreal, and as such, it was easy for the Rangers to shut him down.

In addition, Pacioretty was not playing with a legitimate top-6 player in Phillip Danault. A third-line center, at best, Danault could not compete with the Blueshirts. It should not be a surprise that Pacioretty, a sniper, was not getting the puck in grade A scoring positions throughout the series.

Further, the most vicious criticism of Pacioretty came from Subban lemmings who are mindlessly  looking to destroy Max for his alleged part in P.K.’s exit from Montreal. Rather than part ways with a captain, who by all reports, has the respect and support of his teammates, we should encourage you to move along.

Another silly narrative throughout this series was that ‘Carey Price had not stolen a game.’ Those pedaling this bit of nonsense were seemingly oblivious to Price posting solid numbers: 1.86 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. They also didn’t understand that for Price to have stolen a game, the Canadiens would have had to win the game by scoring.

In the four losses (two a the Bell Centre) the Canadiens scored four goals. Total. To win those games would have required a shutout.

It should be pretty clear that there’s a scoring problem not a goaltending problem.

In the end the Canadiens could not generate offense. A lack of scoring (specifically a first line centre) was identified as a  problem when Marc Bergevin arrived five years ago.

The Habs GM has shuffled in (and out) a boat load of fourth line forwards and spare part defenseman. He has even engineered a trade for one of the best defencemen in hockey. But, after five years, he has failed to bring in (or develop) the one player who could have made a major difference to this series.

And for that reason, more than any other, the Montreal Canadiens are going home before the end of April.

~~~

▲     Carey Price, Shea Weber, Andrei Markov, Artturi Lehkonen, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Plekanec, Jeff Petry, Alexei Emelin

▼     Jordie Benn, Alex Galchenyuk, Phillip Danault, Paul Byron

 Statistics 
CANADIENS   RANGERS
28 Shots 23
51% Face-offs 49%
0 for 3 Power Play 1 for 1
9 Penalty Minutes 13
33 Hits 33
67 Corsi For  51
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT OT2 T
 Canadiens (2-4) 1 0 0 1
 Rangers (4-2) 0 2 1 3
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: Emelin (1) 
  • NYR: Zuccarello (2), Zuccarello (3), Stepan (1) 
  • MTL: Price (L) 2-4
  • NYR: Lundqvist (W) 4-2
 NHL Three Stars

NHL3stars
  1.  Mats Zuccarello  NYR
  2. Henrik Lunqvist  NYR
  3.  Alexander Radulov  MTL

 Video Highlights 
 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Claude Julien

  • “It wasn’t from lack of trying. We looked at our scoring chances and we looked at it after games and we probably had more than the other team, but they made the most out of theirs. The undoing was the fact that we probably needed a little luck to go with our efforts, and those two combined sometimes gives you the breaks that you’re looking for. It was a tough series, but it was a series where I really thought our players worked hard and competed as hard as they could.”
  • “I said you need some breaks along the way, and you have to earn them, but at the same time it doesn’t mean your guys didn’t work hard and compete hard. I thought, overall, analytics are analytics and you can take them and do what you want with them, but I saw a lot of positive things from our end on how we created some chances and the number of grade-A chances we had.”
  • “At the end of the day we just couldn’t put it past that goaltender and that’s what comes back to haunt you. You’ve got to make the most of your grade-A chances and, unfortunately, we ran into their best player, which I thought was their goaltender.”

Alexander Radulov

  • We couldn’t get to Henrik. That’s the bottom line. It’s hard to win when you score one goal. We couldn’t get that bounce.”

Max Pacioretty

  • “We’re very upset. We have a great team in here. We had a great opportunity to do a lot this year, and it definitely feels like a wasted opportunity. There’s some adversity we have to deal with as a team and individually. Hopefully, in the long run it makes us better.”

Carey Price

  • “We had great chemistry this season. We had a lot of fun playing this year. Even throughout the series, we had confidence the whole way through. It’s a bitter disappointment.” 

Brendan Gallagher

  • “I felt like this was our best chance that we’ve had. I like this team so much. I like what we brought to the lineup. We just didn’t get the job done. I love the group that we have in here. It’s just tough right now.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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