Habs Edged By Wings In Slow Motion

Photo by Dave Reginek / NHLI via Getty Images

Habs Edged By Wings In Slow Motion

The Habs were edged by the Wings in slow motion Monday afternoon, a rare weekday game due to Martin Luther King Day being a holiday in the USA.

An unusually monotonous game, this Original-Six match-up did not yield the habitual sparks we see when the Habs and Wings meet.

There was one goal scored – and it wasn’t the Habs who netted it. The Wings scored their only goal at 18:14 of the second period, after a very quiet first frame (only 11 shots, combined, taken on both nets).

It was Thomas Vanek who got the Wings on the board – yes, that Thomas Vanek, who played 18 games with the Habs in the 2013-14 season. Earlier in the period, he had almost scored that first goal, but Carey Price shut the door.

The game yielded a total of 38 shots in all; Price stopped 19 of 20 and Jared Coreau stopped all 18 of the Canadiens’ shots.

The Habs had plenty of chances, hit a couple of posts, but the Wings were right there to deny each one.

So, what is there to talk about, given the utter snooze fest this game became?

Carey Price.

Yes, I know, I’m going there again, but there has been so much chatter – among fans, and some pundits – about Price’s “struggling season”, and I think this game can put this all to rest.

Price was almost perfect. That one goal was impossible for him to stop. I’ll provide the video, and you can see why:

Those kinds of goals happen.

But the Habs weren’t sitting back. Case in point, here:

Here:

And here:

The Habs took a lot of penalties; in fact, their first one came just a minute-and-a-half into the first period. Some were warranted, others seemed very soft. They killed all of them (which, I suppose, is a good thing).

They took 4 penalties – they got 1 power play. There were calls that were not made, but I will not write about the officiating; I did so in Saturday’s game recap, and Monday’s game yielded nothing new.

But back to Price. This was a pivotal save:

 

 

Andreas Athanasiou has been on fire for the Red Wings of late. So when he got a breakaway, Habs fans held their (our) collective breath.

Price’s save was spectacular. The buzz ’round the Twitterverse was all about how this is the Price we know.

He was like that all game. His defensemen did a good job clearing the puck. The one goal scored by the Wings spoke for how good Price was, and how good the Habs were at staving off a deluge.

It was just one of those tedious games where nothing happened, that ended with a “pop” instead of a “kaboom.” In fact, the Habs didn’t even get an opportunity to pull Price for an extra attacker until 40 seconds before the game ended.

Games like these have to be filed away without much ado. They didn’t play badly, although Michel Therrien saw fit to separate the ineffective defensive pairing of Nathan Beaulieu and Jeff Petry after the first period. That pairing had been responsible for too many turnovers, and things got better – on that front – after they were separated.

It’s clear the team is missing the calm leadership of Andrei Markov, on the blue line. We know him as The General, for good reason. He’s got an influence on the team, and is one of the most effective players on the team.

However, still out with a groin injury, he’s not ready to return yet. We can only hope his recovery is imminent, and complete. He’s a veteran, he’s an anchor, and he makes a definitive difference when he’s on the ice.

Let’s shake this one off, and move forward.

The next game for the Habs is Wednesday, at home, against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.

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