While Pittsburgh is on its way to sweep another team, the regular season Eastern Conference Champs seem to have more and more troubles holding on to their Stanley Cup run - recall Bob Gainey pre-series speech: "we want to win the cup".
Not that I gave up any hope for the "drive for 25" or at least this round, but things just do not look good since the start of these series.
Starting with the goal tending.
While I was trying to find if there have been a daring Montreal fan among this really, really, really, really orange crowd, Price has already given up three goals on seven shots. He may have been busy wondering the same thing as I was! And the night was practically over, despite Saku Koivu and Tomas Plekanek's power play goals to reduce the gap.
Steve Begin could manage a few smiles during his post-game interview, despite his team trailing for the first time these series. "The good thing is that it is just 2-1". At that moment, the Kovalev, Price, and others have already disappeared from the dressing room. Saku Koivu went with the same speech, the positive attitude!
Bring on the ugly lucky tie coach, you need all your best players on the rink Wednesday night.
Coach Carbonneau said he will take the night to think about the goal tending situation. The final word will be a game day decision. I can't really recall any bad decision the coach has taken so far this season, hopefully he will keep up with the trend.
Personally, I still think the kid can do the job. He has done it against Boston, he has done it during last year Calder cup run with the Bulldogs, and despite how big of a fan I am of Jaroslav Halak, I don't think I would switch from a 10-playoff-games-rookie-goalie to a one-period-playoff-game-almost-rookie-goalie. Not now, not with the current situation, not tomorrow.
About whether or not Price will be back, analyst Kevin Van Steendelaar seems to have a hint about the subject, in his article "Carey Looks Ahead to Game Five". Kevin actually got two good points regarding what the Habs should do better.
Supposing the goalie situation is solved, what about the rest of the team?
The best power play (that same PP shut down so many times by the Bruins) of the regular season seems to find its way out from time to time. But over and over, all we hear is "too little too late". And that is not enough ...
The offensive units had put a lot of pressure on the Flyers blue line and goaltender. Especially in the last period of game three, we saw the real-deal Habs on their best side. But as Steve Begin resumes the whole situation, the chances are there, it just won't get in. Uh really?!
You take an example, last game. They could not score on two minutes of five-on-three in the first. The Kovalev, Koivu, Higgins, Plekanec, those big time scorers have been given a goal on a golden platter, but they would not take it. Who knows what would have happened if they have been the first to score? It never happened this round. The only game they won, Kovalev and Tom Kostopoulos were there to clean after the goals allowed, for the OT win.
BR Columnist Matt Eichel reported on the matter, "There are 18 other players who need to pull their weight and, in many games, they have only done it for 20-40 minutes".
Talking about the offense, our new member Ryan Gillis had an interesting piece regarding Michael Ryder. If I were Carbo, I would really consider having him back in the lineup. But then, for who? Dandenault has been replaced by Guillaume Latendresse who got one assist in game three, the TK-Smoke-Begin lineup should be back, so the remaining choices are Mark Streit and Maxime Lapierre. Streit is essential for the power play, and Lapierre is important for the physical aspect.
Coming back at the blue line and in the Flyers dressing room, 'gotta have to agree with what Brian Thiel said in his post-game analysis, the Flyers have been trying to disturb Price all evening, and it obviously worked.
But it would be so much easier if in front of him, things could get organized as well. That would avoid Roman Hamrlik to have a post-game self-blaming session, "I screened him on the first goal, it is not his fault".
It must be frustrating for the coach right now, it is not as if his boys have been doing figure skating the whole time. But still, it won't work, it won't clinch, it simply just won't !
The coach said it himself, when the team is wining, it is the most wonderful job in the world. When you lose, it is the toughest.
(Special thanks to Daniel Arouchian with his concept for News from the world of Hockey, which inspired the structure of this post)