Recap – Lightning vs Canadiens: If Only Price Could Score Too

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(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Game 67, Home Game 34 | Tuesday March 10, 2015
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

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LIGHTNING
Tampa Bay

(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

 

 

Lineup scratches: P.A. Parenteau, Manny Malhotra, Mike Weaver
Injured reserve:  Alexei Emelin (upper-body)

Game Notes:

Post-game, head coach Michel Therrien blamed the fatigue of a long road trip. It was nonsense and the coach likely knew that but it was better than telling the truth.  The Canadiens got their lunch handed to them.  The Lightning dominated this game, shot attempts were 75-38 for Tampa Bay.

In this case, the truth would have been harsh. Montreal just couldn’t compete with the aggressive Bolts.  And in three games this season against the Lightning, the Canadiens have been outscored 12-3.  They meet Tampa twice more this month. But they will have to do better than being outshot 13-2, the tally for the final 21 minutes of the game.

As Therrien said, Carey Price was “phenomenal,” but it’s obvious to everyone that the team needs more than the best player in the NHL playing goal.  Therrien is fond of saying that he wants at least three goals a game from his team to have a good chance of winning.  Discounting an empty-netter, the Canadiens have scored five goals total in the past five games. By the coach’s math, that’s 10 short.

The ‘top’ line centred by David Desharnais is simply not producing. Combined, Desharnais, Max Pacioretty and Dale Weise had just three shots on goal. Part way through Alex Galchenyuk replaced Weise on the first line but he ended the game with just one shot.

Pacioretty was more dangerous while penalty-killing with Tomas Plekanec. The pair created three 2-on-1 rushes. It may be time to reunite them on a regular line.  At the very least Therrien has to begin with the realization that his top line, as presently constituted, contains only one legitimate NHL first-liner.

The Canadiens are 19th in 5-on-5 scoring. Controversial player agent Allan Walsh tweeted post-game that his client, P.A. Parenteau, was a healthy scratch while Montreal is a “goal starved” team. Ever disingenuous, Walsh failed to admit that Parenteau has just three even-strength goals in 41 games this season.  Michael Bournival, dispatched to Hamilton, has three even-strength goals in 29 games.  Parenteau has been a soft, perimeter player this season who doesn’t play Therrien’s defense-first style.

If you need an example of one of the reasons why the Habs are not scoring (and why Carey Price is the obvious choice for the Hart Trophy) take a look at the shot charts from War on Ice from Tuesday night’s game. We’ve added the ellipses to emphasize the prime scoring area.

Game Report    war on ice.com

Plus / Minus

▲     Carey Price, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Torrey Mitchell, Jacob de la Rose, Dale Weise, Jeff Petry, Tom Gilbert

▼     Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais

▼▼  Alan Walsh

 Statistics
CANADIENS LIGHTNING
19 Shots 36
0 for 1 Power Play 0 for 4
60% Face-offs 40%
8 Penalty Mins 2
28 Hits 26
24 Fenwick For 43
38 Corsi For 75
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens  (42-18-7) 0 0 0 0 0
 Lightning (42-20-6) 0 0 0 1 1
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL:  No scoring.
  • TBL:  Tyler Johnson (25)
  • MTL: Price (L) 37-13-4
  • TBL: Bishop (W) 33-11-3
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1.  Carey Price  MTL
  2.  Ben Bishop  TBL
  3.  Tyler Johnson  TBL

 Video Highlights

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
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  • “That first game (back after a road trip) is always, always demanding to play.  All the teams face that same situation when they come back. But we found a way to win and Carey (Price) was phenomenal again tonight.  And we ended up picking up one point.”
  • “Our group, they work extremely hard, and at the moment that we speak that group is in first place in the NHL, and who would have said that when we started the year? There’s a lot of positives, so I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys.”

Torrey Mitchell

  • “It feels nice to be part of something like this. It wasn’t like this in Buffalo for me, that’s for sure, just the atmosphere and obviously playing in Montreal, just the playoff-type hockey that we’re going to be playing hopefully for the next 15 games leading into the playoffs. So these are the types of games, you know, obviously we didn’t get the two points, but we need these games going into the stretch here.”

P.K. Subban

  • “All it takes is one shot to change a game. You could see that at the end they got a good bounce and ultimately that was the difference in the hockey game.”
  • Carey (Price) played well and did exactly what we needed him to do. He made some big saves and gave us an opportunity to win the game, which is all any team can ask for from their goaltender.
  • “You knew that it was going to come down to a bounce one way or the other, and tonight they got it. When it goes off one of your own players into the net, it’s a tough pill to swallow, but there are a lot of positives to take away from this game.”

Max Pacioretty

  • “It’s always the same story with Carey (Price.) He was amazing and deserves to be recognized for his repeat performances like that, but at the end of the day it doesn’t make us feel good as his teammates to leave him out to dry that much.
  • “You can’t win a game if you don’t score goals, so we’ve got to find a way to put pucks in the net.”

Carey Price

  • “Well, they were playing pretty aggressive. I thought they did a good job of maintaining pressure in our end. They were moving pretty good. That’s a fast-skating team, and they cycled and they made it tough to move up the ice.”

Lightning coach Jon Cooper

  • “We’ve had some really good games in this building and we’ve had some frustration last spring. But when you play a team in the playoffs, I think there’s a little extra whatever it is, motivation or satisfaction or whatever it is when you play a team that knocked you out.”
  • “I know these are regular-season games, but it’s just a confidence-builder for our team knowing we can come into [the Bell Centre] and win. It’s a tough environment to play in. It’s the Holy Grail of hockey. It’s a lot of fun to play here, and it’s really that much more fun when you win.”
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