After game 1, I wrote a blog that is rather humorous and ironic right now called “Things are Wonderful in Washington”. In that blog, I identified 5 things that I felt they did well in their game 1 upset win over the Capitals, and that they needed to continue to do well if they wanted to make this series competitive.
The first aspect; GOALTENDING. Halak was great in game 1, but was very mediocre in game 2 and was not at fault for his 3 goals in game 3, but he still let in 3 goals in less than half a game. Carey Price looked fine in goal once Halak was pulled, but was he good enough to warrant a game 4 start at home? Gotta love Montreal – where the goalie controversies never stop.
I will have a blog up Wednesday morning as to who I think should start in goal for game 4.
DISCIPLINE was item #2 on Montreal’s list of things to do well, and frankly the easiest. Apparently, it’s not so easy. Stupid and avoidable penalties have killed them the past 2 games, and that BS has to stop. No excuses, play like a champion. Got that Mr. Gomez?
CONTAIN OVECHKIN was the third crucial component necessary for the Habs to succeed. I’ll give them a push on this one. #8 has 5 points during the series, but he has been limited to 7 shots. They have to continue to limit his scoring chances.
The thing they did best in game 1, TREMENDOUS TEAM DEFENSE, has been a major cause for concern the past 2 games. They are letting Washington’s forwards drive the net hard without challenging them, closing their gaps and forcing them to the outside. Hal Gill leads the team’s D in plus minus with an even rating. Maybe it’s time to bring O’Byrne into the lineup to a) get a bigger body to make it difficult for the Caps forwards to get in Halak/Price’s face; & b) Bergeron’s 0 points and -5 rating could use a spot in the press box.
While I’m on that topic, I hope Coach Martin can put this ridiculous grudge he has for Sergei Kostitsyn aside and determine that Sergei is more useful to him, rather than dressing Darche and playing him for 2:22.
Finally, MONTREAL’S BEST PLAYERS NEED TO BE THEIR BEST PLAYERS. I should have specified in all 3 zones, because the 13-14-46 line has been terrible defensively, and for me, especially in the playoffs, that outweighs decent offensive production. Scott Gomez has been in the box way too often for him, and for that matter Gionta, to be consistent factors. They’ve been very good, but Gomez especially is not helping his team serving penalties.
Montreal has 1 game left to get back on track, because going down 3-1 with the series heading back to Washington while the Habs are on a 3 game losing streak would be an incredible mountain to climb. That 1 game is Wednesday night.
As Kurt Russell said in the movie Miracle while portraying Herb Brooks “don’t forget to bring your game.”
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.