The Montreal Canadiens came into Philadelphia desperately seeking 2 points and they left Philadelphia with 2 points. How they accomplished that was a completely different story. The first period had the makings of a great hockey game. The shots were 9-8 in favor of the Flyers, there were 25 hits and some good goaltending on both sides. Montreal led 1-0 after 1 on a goal by Tomas Plekanec, who equaled his career high for points in a year with 69. The rest of the game was all about Jaroslav Halak who delivered what was quite possibly his best performance ever in a Canadiens jersey. There were plenty of opportunities for Philly to score but Halak (who picked up his 4th shutout) was just spectacular. When all was said and done, the Canadiens won 1-0, Montreal was outshot 35-23, including 14-3 in the third period and there was a point where they didn’t get a shot on goal for 16 minutes. It was not pretty, but they got the job done.
Given how the Habs-Flyers game played out, I will share 2 completely different ways I could analyze the end result of this hockey game. You be the judge as to which thought process is more logical.
POST GAME ANALYSIS #1 (written as if this was game #25 in the regular season)
“It’s not about whether you won or lost, it’s how you played the game”
There were some very concerning trends in this game that could come back to haunt this team down the road.
- Again, the Habs only scored 1 goal. Teams can’t win many games when they can’t score goals.
- Montreal may have won, but sitting back, getting outshot 14-3 in a period and refusing to attack is a recipe for disaster. It may have worked this time, but that might just give them a false sense of security. Maybe it would have been better in the long run if they would have lost playing that style.
- Another game with nothing to show for on the power play. This time they were 0 for 2 and didn’t have too many shots either with the man advantage.
- A few too many turnovers and instances of blown in zone coverage were forgotten because of how good the goalie was.
Conclusion: the Habs may have won the battle, but they will lose the war that is the NHL season if they feel like they can win games playing like they did.
POST GAME ANALYSIS #2 (written as if this was game #78 in the regular season)
“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”
I would prefer to see the Canadiens play poorly and win, rather than see them play well and lose. To all the disturbing trends outlined in ANALYSIS #1, my rebuttal is the same on all counts “who cares, they won”.
Conclusion: With 4 games left, the Habs won and picked up 2 points; nothing else matters.
The Habs come back home to face Buffalo on Saturday night at the Bell Centre. A win would just about clinch a playoff spot for Montreal and I have a hunch that Jaroslav Halak might be in goal. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.
GO HABS GO!
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.