Tuesday May 7th, 2013
Game Recap: A third period marked by poor officiating and coaching decisions snatched victory from the hands of the Canadiens.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: Senators lead best of 7 series 3-1.
| MONTREAL CANADIENS
2nd seed East
7th seed East
|1||2||2:52||EV||MTL||76 P.SUBBAN(1)||14 T.PLEKANEC(3)||73 M.RYDER(1)|
|2||2||3:54||EV||MTL||27 A.GALCHENYUK(1)||24 J.HALPERN(1)||42 J.TINORDI(1)|
|3||3||11:55||EV||OTT||93 M.ZIBANEJAD(1)||25 C.NEIL(2)||55 S.GONCHAR(3)|
|4||3||19:37||EV||OTT||89 C.CONACHER(1)||11 D.ALFREDSSON(4)||7 K.TURRIS(2)|
|5||4||2:32||EV||OTT||7 K.TURRIS(2)||3 M.METHOT(3)||65 E.KARLSSON(4)|
Shots on Goal:
SA : 28
SAVES : 26
- Habs starting six: Tomas Plekanec, Rene Bourque, Michael Ryder, Josh Gorges, Raphael Diaz, Carey Price
- Scratched: Lars Eller, Brian Gionta, Ryan White, Tomas Kaberle, Davis Drewiske, Mike Blunden, Alexei Emelin, Petteri Nokelainen, Nathan Beaulieu, Yannick Weber, Greg Pateryn, Michael Bournival, Louis Leblanc, Dustin Tokarski, Robert Mayer
What you need to know:
How did that happen? It’s the question on the minds of players, management and especially fans following the Canadiens overtime loss in Game 4. The answer is that it wasn’t just one thing. There was a combination of factors that led the Canadiens to enter the third period with a two goal lead and chance to tie the series to the brink of elimination.
Let’s start with the issue that everyone is talking about. The officiating was disgraceful, not just one blown call that impacted the outcome of the game, but several. For so many errors to happen in a regular season game would be bad enough but in a playoff game, it’s inexcusable.
There were icing calls that should have been waved off, goalie interference on the tying goal and a puck that was redirected by a skate (clear to see in the overhead view.) And how is it possible that with four officials, they set up for a face-off on the wrong side of the ice? The league acknowledging their error at this point solves nothing. How does such an elementary mistake happen in the first place?
If it’s true that bad calls even themselves out, expect Sens fans to be awfully upset for the next three games. There is a whole lot of of payback on its way for the Canadiens.
But the refs aren’t solely to blame for this mess. At the beginning of the third, I tweeted “Can’t afford a Jacques Martin period.” And that’s exactly what the Michel Therrien and the Habs served up. Although the coach was not ready to admit it afterwards saying “I thought we were pushing the pace. We didn’t give up many scoring chances,” when asked about passive play in the third period.
The shots total disagreed with Therrien (13-4 for Ottawa) as did his assistant captain, Josh Gorges who said “Third period was probably from us sitting back too much trying to protect the lead instead of continuing to press forward.” Thanks Josh, it was obvious to the rest of us even if the coach wasn’t willing to admit it.
It was also obvious that some curious personnel decision were being made behind the bench in the third period. One of the Canadiens goal scorers, Alex Galchenyuk, had less than two minutes of ice-time in the third period. Granted Galchenyuk had a rough night defensively in Game 3 but that’s because he was playing centre. The Habs rookie, who has been one of the offensive leaders in the playoffs, was back on the wing for Tuesday night’s game.
Another rookie was underutilized for much of the third period. Jarred Tinordi had a strong game with four hits and leading the team with three blocked shots. After being on the ice for Zibanejad’s kicked-in goal, Tinordi received few shifts — not having a defenseman who could clear the front of the net when Ottawa was pressing to tie was a huge mistake.
The coaching staff’s over-reliance on Raphael Diaz was costly. Diaz has been terrible defensively throughout the playoffs and was on the ice for the tying goal and the winner in overtime. Diaz waved at the shot from Kyle Turris in the extra frame with his elbow but didn’t connect.
That said, the Turris goal was an easily stoppable puck. Peter Budaj simply lost the net behind him as he is prone to do. On Wednesday Budaj said that Diaz didn’t tip the Sens winning goal – he admitted that he simply misplayed the shot and should have stopped it.
Not to blame the Habs backup as he was put in an extremely difficult position coming in cold in overtime. It is unfortunate as Carey Price played a superb game. Price’s departure due to injury and Budaj being forced into action was certainly another factor in the loss.
David Desharnais made his first shot on goal of the series at 1:04 of the opening game. And for the most part disappeared from the rest of the game. He re-emerged on the controversial faceoff in the third period that officials held on the wrong side of the ice. Desharnais was tossed out for the umpteenth time this series and the Sens got an easy possession win with Brendan Gallagher at the dot. Even Gallagher couldn’t help elevate the play of his linemates, Desharnais and Max Pacioretty.
Therrien’s stubbornness was undoubtedly a contributing factor to the loss. Perhaps he has held his own at the podium during this series but Therrien has been thoroughly out-coached by Paul MacLean behind the bench, and that’s where it counts.
After the game, MacLean was asked to comment on using Cory Conacher late in the game even as the Senators rookie had made the turnover leading to Galchenyuk’s goal. MacLean said, “I think as a coach you can’t get tied up in what’s happened during the game and you find a way to win the game.”
Therrien would be wise to listen to MacLean this time: ‘forget the past and give your team the best possible chance to win.’ The Canadiens coach needs to admit that relying on players like Desharnais and Diaz isn’t working.
What was otherwise a well-played game by the Canadiens turned into a demoralizing loss due to questionable decision-making and atrocious officiating. The outlook does not get any rosier with injuries to key players starting to add up. It’s time for Therrien to spend less time behind the podium and more at the whiteboard strategizing with his coaching staff. The Canadiens will need a revised game plan and full effort from every player if they are going to extend the series beyond Thursday.
- Brandon Prust aggravated his shoulder injury. Carey Price seemed to injure his left knee when the Senators crashed the crease for the tying goal. In his post-game presser, Michel Therrien would only say it was an upper-body for Prust and lower-body for Price.
|NHL Three Stars|
Coach Michel Therrien:
- “We came to play. We certainly deserved a better fate.”
- “Every detail counts,” when asked about icing, kicked in goal, faceoff at wrong dot.
- “I thought we were pushing the pace. We didn’t give up many scoring chances.” when asked about passive play in the third period.
- Rambling answers from Therrien in the presser as he negotiated the mine-field of responses that would earn him a fine.
- “We’re facing elimination now and none of us want to go home; none of us are done playing. We’ve got a lot of pride in this room and now it’s do or die. You have to have the mentality of, ‘Let’s throw everything we’ve got.’ There’s no tomorrow for us anymore. We have to play that way.”
Senators coach Paul MacLean:
- “Sometimes [young players] do make some mistakes we don’t like. But we have enough confidence in them to put them back on the ice and give them an opportunity to contribute to the team. Tonight, Mika Zibanejad was one of those players and Cory Conacher was another player that during the game had some struggles and we put them both back on the ice at different times and they both scored goals. It was a great credit to them for staying focused in the game and taking advantage of the opportunity.”
Senators forward Kyle Turris:
- “It was surprising seeing Budaj come in. We knew he hadn’t played for a bit and was probably a little cold, so we just tried to put pucks on net and we were lucky one went in.”
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