Recap – Coyotes vs Canadiens: Habs Only Manage Lacklustre Effort on Super Sunday

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Game 49, Home Game 25 | Sunday February 1, 2015
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

2-3

COYOTES
Arizona

Lineup scratches: Michael Bournival, Sergei Gonchar

Game Notes:

Rookie on the ropes. We’ve seen this story before. A young Quebec-born goalie debuts at the Bell Centre for the opposition only to stone the Canadiens. But today was going to be different, at least it started out that way.  Louis Domingue, making his first NHL start, gave up two goals in the first five minutes of the game and was looking very shaky in the Coyotes goal. The folks on Twitter were wagering on when he would be pulled.  Most seem to believe that Montreal would score a third before the ten minute mark of the game and that would be all for the 22-year old from Mont-Saint-Hilaire.  But Domingue would get a reprieve as the Canadiens switched on the cruise control.

Habs coast.  While some described the Canadiens effort as sleepwalking in the second period it appeared to me that they were content to run out the clock. Yes, beginning in the second period.  They had two goals, the cumulative total of the previous two games, and had already slotted this game in the win column.  For a time, the Coyotes played along with sloppy passing, perimeter play and disjointed entries. As the Arizona power-play began near the end of the second period, I noted the lowered heads, lackluster rush  and general disinterest.  The Coyotes looked defeated.  To others in the All Habs war room, I said, “Don’t they know that with a goal here on the power-play, they are only one down and right back in the game?”

Lack of offense. The-almost-by-accident-tipped-by-a-stick-just-under-the-crossbar goal by Lauri Korpikoski with just over two minutes remaining in the second period gave the Coyotes a jolt of adrenaline and was a slap in the face to the Canadiens.  Just 30 seconds into the third period, Dustin Tokarski allowed the ultimate softie and the air was sucked out of the Bell Centre.  About a minute after the Arizona goal, Montreal got their first shot on goal of the period.  Another 10:37 would pass before the Habs registered their second shot of the third period.  This is the urgency showed by the team who had just been tied after squandering a two goal lead.  In fact, for the 30 minutes after the second period began, the Canadiens, who were battling for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, were outshot 22-6 by one of the worst teams in the league.

Just a mere mortal.  Dustin Tokarski is not Carey Price.  The Canadiens are fortunate to have the best goalie in the world in their lineup most nights. Tokarski is best described as a slightly above average goaltender. This is derived mostly from his battling style and strong mental game.  As displayed in Sunday’s game Tokarski has trouble with rebound control, often overplays the shooter, plays small in the net and is weak at playing the puck.  And yes, he is known to give up soft goals.

Ordinary team. Ineffective coach. Elite goaltender.  Playing against the 28th place team, the Canadiens should have been able to overcome a soft goal.  Arizona allows 32.1 shots per game ranking 25th in the league in that category. Yet the Habs managed just 20 shots on goal.  While some like to credit the team’s success this season to leading scorer Max Pacioretty or even a more outlandish choice like Michel Therrien, the simple truth is that the Canadiens would be a very ordinary team, at best, without Carey Price.  Fans got a glimpse of that in Sunday’s game.

Plus / Minus

▲    Andrei Markov, Alex Galchenyuk, Alexei Emelin, Tom Gilbert, Jiri Sekac, Lars Eller, Christian Thomas

▼    Dustin Tokarski, Brendan Gallagher, Brandon Prust, Nathan Beaulieu

 Statistics
CANADIENS COYOTES
20 Shots 32
0 for 2 Power Play 2 for 2
48% Face-offs 52%
4 Penalty Mins 4
23 Hits 28
33 Fenwick For 42
53 Corsi For 56
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens  (32-14-3) 2 0 0 2
 Coyotes (18-26-6) 0 1 2 3
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL:  Galchenyuk (14), Galchenyuk (15)
  • ARI:  Korpikoski (5),  Ekman-Larsson (14), Korpikoski (6)
  • MTL: Tokarski (L) 5-4-1
  • ARI: Domingue (W) 1-0-0
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1.  Lauri Korpikoski  ARI
  2.  Alex Galchenyuk  MTL
  3.  Louis  Domingue  ARI

 Video Highlights

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
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  • “Dustin [Tokarski] was good throughout the game. I’m sure he’d like to have the second goal back, but he’s certainly not the reason we lost today. We can’t read too much into it. We had a tough week ahead of us and we were in position to rack up four wins out of four before finally ending up with three. That’s the way I see it.”
  • “To win hockey games, you need some good breaks, and you need some good calls.”

Max Pacioretty

  • “It’s frustrating. Obviously we didn’t give it our best and they got a couple of bounces I think that was the back breaker. It was a little bit too late for us to try and come back, you know, their goalie made some big saves, but at the end of the day I don’t think we gave it our best.”

P.K. Subban

  • “It wasn’t our best game by any means. Although we had a good start, we got away from it. We’ve got to learn that no matter what team you’re playing in this league, you’ve got to play a full 60.”
  • “Some of these games are tough to figure out. What I do know is that we weren’t the same team in the second and the third that we were in the first. Whatever that reason was, we better figure it out.”

Dustin Tokarski

  • “It was a bad goal, it was a momentum changer – and it probably won’t be the last one – but it’s all about making the next save. It’s about bouncing back and I thought the guys fought hard at the end to try to tie it up. I think that was the momentum changer. Now it’s up to us to regroup.”

Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett

  • “With the situation our team’s in, you know there’s lots of trade rumors surrounding our team and stuff, but all we have to do is make sure we play hard.”
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