Habs Outshot In 3-1 Loss To Islanders

Photo by Mike Stobe / NHLI via Getty Images

Habs Outshot in 3-1 Loss To Islanders

Habs were outshot in a 3-1 loss to the Islanders Thursday night in Brooklyn. The final total was a deeply uneven 42-22 shots on goal, which presented the problem from the beginning.

They came out slow, they didn’t take enough shots on net, and they gave up the first goal. While that is hardly a set formula for a loss, it is an auspicious beginning for a team that was coming off a spectacular game just 2 nights earlier.

The Canadiens seemed to miss easy passes, seemed unable to manage puck possession, and weren’t quick enough to loose pucks. Nothing seemed to work Thursday evening.

Carey Price saved the day inasmuch as the saves he made keeping the score low. When you’re facing 42 shots, and manage to save 39 of them, you can definitely be held up as the reason this game did not result in a humiliating blowout for a team that’s already seen 2 games end in embarrassing losses.

Here is how it played out:

First Period: Shots 14-4 New York

Goal: Andrew Ladd (Calvin de Haan, Nick Leddy), 13:07

The game began with an early test of Carey Price’s skills, when John Tavares took a shot that was saved easily.

Shortly thereafer, when Price, went behind his net to retrieve the puck, the blade of his stick got wedged between the boards, and he couldn’t free it. “Calm” being this man’s middle name, he left it there, tracking the puck the entire time as he backed toward his net, and defended it against the attacking Islanders.

At 13:07 of the period, Andrew Ladd opened the scoring with a shot from inside the circle. It went five-hole, and the Islanders were on the board.

Despite a power play, the Habs were unable to get on the board this period. Being outshot by almost 4-1 was a problem.

Second Period: Shots 16-9 New York

Goal: Shea Weber (PPG; Andrew Shaw, Nathan Beaulieu), 14:09

Outshot again, by almost double, this period yielded one goal, and it was scored on the power play, by none other than Shea Weber.

Andrew Shaw passed the puck back, from next to the net, before colliding with Islanders’ Adam Pelech, who fell on top of him. Weber was coming toward the puck from the blue line. With his stick already poised, he took his trademark slapshot, it bounced up and behind Thomas Greiss, and despite Johnny Boychuk‘s dive into the net to try and save it, the puck was already in. (Shaw took cover – Weber does have the hardest shot in the league)

There were some big saves, by Price and the team in front of him, clearing the puck over and over as the Islanders continued to pressure the Habs with shots. The period ended with the teams tied, but the shots on goal were already 30-13 for New York.

Third Period: Shots 12-9 New York

Goals: Andrew Ladd (John Tavares, Nick Leddy), 7:20; Josh Bailey (PPG; Anders Lee, John Tavares), 15:13

A nice moment, as the second period was beginning. At the Barclay Center, the visitors enter from behind the net, and on his way toward his end, Carey Price greeted his opponent thus:

But that was the only nice thing that happened for the Habs the rest of the game. Andrew Ladd, on a 4-on-4, scored the go-ahead goal for the Islanders. It should have been a Montreal power play, but Paul Byron was called for embellishment, so there was no man-advantage.

Tell me what you think:

The game continued with the Islanders continuing to hammer away at the Habs, and Price continuing to keep the score low. When Andrew Shaw took a penalty, at 15:09, the Isles wasted no time, scoring their PPG  just 4 seconds in.

The Habs got a power play toward the end of the period, pulled Price, but were unable to capitalize, and the game ended with the Islanders at 3-1.

Some Thoughts

  • Were the Habs struggling? Look at the shot count: a total of 42-22. That’s a picture that speaks volumes. Yes, they were outshot Tuesday night too (31-20) and still won, 5-1, but they came out of the gates Thursday looking sluggish.
  • Did the referees help the Islanders? I’m rarely one to blame it all on referees. Shaw gets penalties; he has a reputation, and sadly – as we’ve seen with Brendan Gallagher – it tends to follow him with the officials. Was the penalty deserved? It depends on whether you’re hating or loving Shaw at the moment. He gets penalties. He also gets careless.
  • Habs fans who were raising Shaw to the rafters with praise after his goal Tuesday night are now cursing him out with viciousness. Such is the cycle of the fickle Habs fans.
  • This guy can’t be doing it all.

 

But he does, night after night, and he is stellar. Without Price Thursday evening, the game would have been an embarrassing blowout for the Canadiens. It isn’t always like that; Tuesday night, the entire team played on point. Clearing the puck, taking the shots, dominating the ice. Thursday, things were completely different.

The All-Star break begins tonight. Price, Weber, and coach Michel Therrien will be heading to Los Angeles for the weekend, while the team takes time off. Perhaps they should be home practicing, but hey, that’s not our call.

All-Star break brings different results when games resume. Let’s hope the Habs return refreshed, and ready to start outshooting their opponents, instead of the other way around. If I had one thing to express my concern about, it is the shots on goal. Time to up that part of their game.

The next game for the Habs takes place Tuesday, January 31, when the Buffalo Sabres visit the Bell Centre. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.

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