THE BOYS NIGHT OFF – Buffalo-2 Canadiens-1 (April 5, 2017)

Apr 6th, 2017 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

The Canadiens didn’t have their minds on the job Wednesday night in Buffalo.

Not that you can blame them. There was absolutely nothing to be gained one way or the other by the final result of this game.

I thought the work ethic was there. What was missing was the thoughtful playmaking and tight defense  that has marked the Canadiens since Claude Julien took over the team.

I can’t imagine anyone in the Canadiens dressing room was truly upset over the 2-1 loss. The only concern anyone might have is that playing the way they did in Buffalo doesn’t become habit-forming the way it did in the months of December and January.  Under Julien, it doesn’t seem likely.

THE BRIGHT LIGHT

We’ve seen Alexander Radulov play some very good games since he joined this team. This one has to be at the top of the list. Problem was, for most of the night he seemed to be alone on the ice, which was more an indication of the head space of his teammates than of his all-out effort. He had the puck all night and Radulov made one of his extraordinary passes to Tomas Plekanec to set up the Canadiens only goal. The only other Canadiens forward with any presence in this game was Brendan Gallagher .

STILL ON TRACK

Carey Price did his level best. The Canadiens might have developed some momentum after they narrowed the game to 2-1 still nineteen minutes to play. Didn’t happen. Only two minutes after Plekanec scored, the Canadiens defense allowed Tyler Innis to get in him on a breakaway and thirty seconds after that he had to deal with Nikolas Deslauriers on another breakaway. That kind of night. At the end of it, no thanks to his defense, the Sabres managed only two goals. Not much more Price could do.

THE BLUELINE SHAKEUP

The Canadiens defense had a dreadful night. With the absence of Shea Weber and Jordie Benn it was a piecemeal setup at best. Add in the fact that Alexei Emelin was out of the game late in the second period and nobody was having a good night and you get what you got. At least Julien thought enough about the way Beaulieu was playing that he doubled him up with both Jeff Petry and Andrei Markov. Beaulieu wasn’t much better than the rest of them but he wound up leading everyone on the team with 23 minutes icetime. Only member of the defense who seemed to have his skates under him was Andrei Markov.

QUESTION MARKS

It’s always a good thing to hold praise or criticism until there’s a body of work on which to judge. Benn and forward Andreas Martinsen weren’t in this game, but they’ve been positive additions.

There have been things to like and dislike about the play of Brandon Davidson in his six games with team. This was not one of his good efforts. I have seen nothing to like about what Nikita Nesterov brings to the team. Rumours are he’s headed for the KHL next season. Might be the best thing for him.

AMONG OTHER THINGS

….Markov and Gallagher led the Canadiens with 4 shots on goal each.

….The Canadiens recorded only nine hits, another indication that their heart wasn’t in the game.

….For the third straight game on this road trip, Tomas Plekanec was good in the faceoff circle winning 8 of 10. Canadiens centres won 64% on the night.

….Another lost effort from Alex Galchenyuk. The difference was, unlike some of his recent games, his lack of production was covered by that of the rest of his teammates.

MOVING ON

The Canadiens wrap it up with back-to-back games Friday and Saturday. The season home finale will be Friday night against Tampa. Saturday it’s the Joe Louis Arena.

Still no word on the first round playoff schedule. All we know is it will be the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre either Wednesday or Thursday for game one. Game two will be Friday or Sunday. The Dixie Chicks will take up the Bell Centre on Saturday night

One Comment to “THE BOYS NIGHT OFF – Buffalo-2 Canadiens-1 (April 5, 2017)”

  1. Ian London says:

    Totally agree with all your comments + those of players and coach post game. Too much showtime and not enough fundamental hockey. I’m counting on the leaders on the team and coaches nipping that in the bud. Leave that for practice and focus on the game. Finish strong for the playoffs.

    Got to love NHL.com. they are so pro-american I want to puke. They acknowledge we beat NYR all three games but then they say “but NY beat Montreal in the eastern conference final in 2014”. How irrelevant that is – 3 years ago, new coach and new players on both teams. Plus atleast mention the dirty play that took CP31 out of the series in game 1. Hope Kreider tries to make a run at Carey and comes face-to-face with Weber.

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