So, after that pitiful performance in Game 1 on Wednesday night, I’ve got a few things to say.
The first period was pretty much your typical Montreal Canadiens hockey. They dominate the period, outshoot the Rangers 15-5, yet go into the second period down a goal. Overall, not the worst thing in the world, just lack of puck luck. Which can be said for a lot of games Montreal has played this year.
My concern is the last 40 minutes of this game.
The Canadiens did what the Canadiens were so famous for doing during the Michel Therrien era, absolutely nothing. Doing so while watching Carey Price dominate. Newsflash boys, Therrien is gone, so this is unacceptable.
The Canadiens were outshot 26-15 in the final two frames of a game which they were down 1-0. This is game 1 of the playoffs, in front of arguably the loudest crowd in hockey who haven’t been to a playoff game in two years. I repeat, UNACCEPTABLE.
People would call me out as hypocritical (as they should) if I didn’t put some of the blame on Claude Julien. Alex Galchenyuk being on the 4th line is not appropriate when your 1st line centre at the moment is Phillip Danault. Dwight King, who is for some reason slated higher on the depth chart than Galchenyuk, has been practically invisible since his acquisition, and Steve Ott is Steve Ott. Lack of adjustment lost the Habs this game, and Julien was outcoached by Alain Vigneault on this night.
Let’s turn our attention to a man by the name of Marc Bergevin. At the trade deadline, he was criticized for not addressing the glaring hole in the Canadiens line-up. That being top-six forwards. He said that he believed that the secondary scoring would pick up the slack. Other than Artturi Lehkonen, this has not been the case. If goal-scoring doesn’t come in the remainder of this series, one must think that the finger will be pointed at his lack of addressing the teams needs, instead acquiring multiple 4th line grinders.
I would like to be clear on something. I don’t believe this series is over, on the contrary, it’s far from it. However, the Canadiens are in trouble. They need to win game 2, and that is not an understatement. Going back to Madison Square Garden down two games to none to a very good Rangers team, unacceptable.
The Canadiens are, as Marc Bergevin puts it, “All in”. So, now is the time to prove that. Make me eat my words about playing unacceptable hockey and give Price some goal support. If the Canadiens are committed to winning it all this year, then they need to play like it.
No more disappointments, no more mismanagement, and no more excuses.