Recap – Oilers vs Canadiens: Habs Looking Ordinary Without 31

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(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
Game 54, Home Game 29 | Thursday February 12, 2015
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

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OILERS
Edmonton

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)
Lineup scratches: Mike Weaver, Manny Malhotra

Game Notes:

Giraffe > Tik?  The Minnesota Wild beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 tonight. The Wild are on a 9-game point streak, 7-0-2, and are close to breaking a long-standing franchise record. And their newly-acquired goaltender Devan Dubnyk won again.  In 12 straight starts since being traded to Minnesota, Dubnyk is 9-1-1 with four shutouts, a 1.48 GAA and a .943 Sv%.  And for anyone who has forgotten, Dubnyk was Dustin Tokarski‘s backup in Hamilton at the end of last season.  So while everyone was debating whether the Canadiens should have kept Tokarski or Peter Budaj, perhaps the real question was why didn’t they keep the 6-foot-6 former first round pick? That one seemed to get by Stephane Waite.

Meanwhile back at the Bell Centre, the 5-foot-11 Tokarski was having a hard time staying square to the shooters enroute to surrendering four goals to the 29th place Edmonton Oilers.

Plenty of drive. Skill, not so much. In many respects, Dustin Tokarski is the polar opposite of Carey Price.  Tokarski handles the puck out of the crease like a hand grenade, struggles with rebound control, plays small in the net and often loses his positioning.  As a goaltender with heart, he battles to often make up for his technical shortcomings. But against the Oilers, Tokarski lost the puck at times, lost his net and lost his focus.  He often ended up sideways in the crease. Three of the four goals given up by Dustin were weak.  And the overtime winner resulted from him being preoccupied with who clipped him near the crease.  It was his own player, Tom Gilbert, something that Tokarski chose to dispute even in his post-game scrum.

Oilers, Sabres & Yotes, Oh My!  Much was made post-game of the Canadiens six losses this season to teams at the bottom of the standings: Edmonton, Arizona and Buffalo.  The Canadiens combined record is 1-4-2.  It’s fair to lament how much higher in the standings the Habs would be with additional wins against bottom-feeders.

It’s interesting to note that of the six losses, Dustin Tokarski was in goal for four of them.

Not who we thought they were. Before anyone gets the impression that we are laying the loss directly at the feet of Tokarski, let’s set the record straight.   He is simply an average goaltender playing in front of a non-playoff team.  It is only due to the heroics of Carey Price, game in and game out, that the Canadiens find themselves near the top of the standings.  It’s on those rare occasions when Tokarski mans the crease that we see behind the veil: this team is not as good as their record, the head coach is being outcoached on a nightly basis and the GM has plenty of work still to do.

Firsts. Congratulations to Christian Thomas on his first NHL goal and to Jacob De La Rose who not only got his first NHL point with an assist on the goal but created the turnover to set up the play.

Plus / Minus

▲     Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, Jacob De La Rose, Alex Galchenyuk, Christian Thomas

▼     Dustin Tokarski, P.K. Subban, David Desharnais, Jiri Sekac, Dale Weise, Brandon Prust, Tom Gilbert

 Statistics
CANADIENS OILERS
26 Shots 38
0 for 3 Power Play 0 for 3
56% Face-offs 44%
6 Penalty Mins 6
18 Hits 35
37 Fenwick For 52
55 Corsi For 65
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens  (35-15-4) 1 1 1 0 3
 Oilers (16-31-9) 0 2 1 1 4
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL:  Thomas (1), Galchenyuk (16), Pacioretty (25)
  • EDM:  Hendricks (7), Nugent-Hopkins (13), Nugent-Hopkins (14), Lander (3)
  • MTL: Tokarski (L) 5-4-2
  • EDM: Fasth (W) 6-14-2
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins  EDM
  2.  Dustin Tokarski  MTL
  3.  Anton Lander  EDM

 Video Highlights

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
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  • “We played a really bad game in all aspects. We didn’t even deserve a point. We were lucky to get one point.
  • Therrien also questioned the team’s level of maturity.

Christian Thomas

  • “I like to consider myself a shooter and that’s the way I like to score my goals, and hopefully I’ll get some more opportunities to shoot the puck.”

Dustin Tokarski

  • “I know I was clipped by someone, you say it’s (Tom) Gilbert but I’m not sure. I’ll have to watch it again.”

Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson

  • “I like the fact that we stuck with it, even when we got down late in the game. We found a way to get it to overtime and obviously we’re happy with the result.”
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