O’Byrne's goof was only one of the most obvious mistakes in many games to come. But, unsurprisingly, there were many other mishaps which did not favour the Montreal Canadiens last night in their shootout loss against the newly born New York Islanders. Here is my take on this game where many good things failed to come our way.
Very Lucky First
Right off the bat, the Canadiens allowed the first goal to be scored against them on power play, the 10th time this season. Not a good sign.
17 seconds later, Steve Bégin pounced on a lose puck coming from Joey MacDonald’s big rebound. The fourth line was solid and looked like they were not improvising at all, they did what was asked of them. In addition, the slapshot by Josh Gorges for a goal with the man advantage was lucky enough to escape everyone and end up in the end of the net. Okay, so after that everything should have shaped up well...right? Right...only until the end of the period.
The referee Chris Lee was quite special. He called "almost" fairly to both sides although a little late sometimes. But the biggest mistake he made was to blow the whistle to early thinking that Joey McDonald froze the puck when it was clearly lose. Had that been fair, Andrei Kostitsyn’s goal would have been legitimate. The first event that showed the unluckiness of the Habs.
O'Byrne's lucky third
Ryan O'byrne's first goal in a Montreal Canadiens uniform was a beauty (sarcastically speaking!). A nice shot directed right at the net and it went in. The crowd was going nuts. Not because they were happy but because it was towards Carey Price’s net that he took the shot. The 24-year-old’s inability to follow the play and recognize the delayed penalty. I mean...it was a blind pass but when you do not see everyone coming back to defense, a light should go off in your head. Unfortunately, the short lapse of time lead to an stupid and avoidable mistake.
Unbelievable is the right word. For the number of open nets and chances the Canadiens missed in the five-minute sudden death. Alexei Kovalev was in front of Joey MacDonald, who, once again, gave up a BIG rebound. So much for being a star player, Kovy could not bury it and did not strike the right corner (he preferred the middle for some reason)Next, it was Andrei Markov’s turn to screw up. Literally! With the commendable shot that he has, Markov was maybe a meter away from the crease and decided to try and make a pass instead of shooting. Result: giveaway!
Unbelievable was also Price. On the positive side during the overtime and negatively in the shootout. The 21-year-old who had to face shootout in seven of his outings with the Habs, winning four of them, he was outplayed by two players of the New York Islanders. Andrei Kostitsyn and Alex Tanguay could not score against backup goaltender Joey MacDonald.
Guy Carbonneau’s coaching notes
The puck to the net formula that Carbo’s been preaching seems to have finally settled in the brains of our players. The success comes from scoring and to score, the puck has to approach the net. Mere "beautiful passing" does not earn points. The Canadiens played what looked like text-book lead protection in the second period. Except for the unexpected gaffe, everything would have moved smoothly.
I think the lines from yesterday should stay put. It will do some good to at least leave the players together for a few more games. It might help to get back the chemistry and synchronised play.
The Montreal Canadiens get ready to face the current Stanley cup champions, the Detroit Red Wings tomorrow night at Joe Louis Arena. Currently the hottest team on the powerplay, indiscipline could eventually ruin the Habs tomorrow. Against the Islanders, the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge gave away two goals while being on the penalty killing sequence which is not necessarily a good sign.
How did you feel after the shootout loss? Any feelings about tomorrow’s match-up? Do comment!
Photo: Habs Inside/Out
(Price watches as Richard Park's shot beats him on his gloveside)