After a long string of games without a first period goal, the Habs got us all super excited in this one. Three first period goals, all at even strength and in quick succession. It started with Lars Eller poking the puck to P.K. Subban, who then fired one of his patented bombs from the point to put the Habs up by one. Not long after, Brendan Gallagher found Max Pacioretty with a brilliant pass to give him a breakaway. He scored on that breakaway, and you don't have to take my word on it thanks to Marc. To cap off a great period, Tomas Plekanec redirected the puck from Brian Gionta into the net and it seemed the rout was on. Alex Galchenyuk should have had an assist on the third goal, but who am I to complain, the Habs are up by three!!!
Late in the first Seth Jones had a scary moment as a tipped Andrei Markov shot went straight up underneath his visor and hit him right in the face. He did not return to the game and I hope everyone will join me in wishing him the best, and hoping it's not serious. You never like to see someone take a puck to the face, and as someone who has taken multiple pucks to the face, I know how shitty it is.
I was all excited and happy after the first, but I forgot that Douglas Murray exists, and is an aforementioned black hole of suck. Goals from Gabriel Bourque and Nick Spaling on the powerplay reduced the Habs lead to one, and both goals happened with Murray on the ice. Sidebar, he can be directly faulted on both goals... What a surprise. I should mention that the period overall was quite bad, as the Habs employed their usual "sit on leads" mentality and were heavily outshot by the preds. That said, Murray was disastrous and like I said, he can be directly faulted on both goals. I would very much enjoy seeing two things; the Habs without Murray, and the Habs keeping their damn foot on the gas pedal when they have a lead. Sitting on leads is so extremely dangerous in this league, yet we keep doing it night after night. It's getting exhausting.
This is the second straight Habs game I've been asked to handle the recap. It's also the second straight time I have to pause to complain about Douglas Murray. He is an unmitigated disaster. Andrew described him as a holocaust on skates last night, which is pretty much the best description of his play that I've ever read. The question of how this man still has a roster spot is harder to solve than the Kennedy assassination. How management, and the coaching staff have been unable to identify his complete uselessness is entirely dumbfounding. I'm starting to wonder if Jarred Tinordi or Nathan Beaulieu are seeing it too, and might want to leave the team, seeing as they're stuck in the Hammer while he continually finds ways to suck harder. He needs to be gone yesterday. Check that, last month. Check that, he never should have been signed, which is not something we all didn't already know.
Alas, on to the third frame. With a one goal lead in hand, we all know what that means... Time to keep sitting on it. I was watching the game, and my phone decided to tell me through the Canadiens app that the game was over with 12 minutes left to play. I really wish my phone was right... The Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Brendan Gallagher line was the only one that seemed to look good to me. Everything else looked like crap. P.K. Subban was trying to retrieve the puck and accidentally tripped Matt Cullen, leading to a late Preds powerplay. Of course, Shea Weber scored, and of course, Douglas Murray was on the ice when he did and failed miserably to do anything to stop it. At this point I was praying for OT and a shootout as I felt this was the only way we could steal a win.
But I was so very wrong. Not long into the OT period, David Desharnais went Super Saiyan. In what shall henceforth be known as "Le Shift," Desharnais was all over the Predators, stole the puck, and unleashed a sneaky quick clapper to give the Habs an undeserved two points. He did this while his linemates had already left the zone to backcheck... This wasn't Pacioretty carrying him and giving him a freebie so he could be the hero, he went into hero mode himself. Perhaps the ghost of Maurice Richard was watching this game, and decided to possess DD because he felt like winning. It was miraculous.
It was a brilliant shift. The Habs coaching staff should show him video of that shift before every game and tell him to go out and do that. As critical as I and many others of EOTP have been of him this season, he has 14 points in the last 17 games and seems to have turned his ship around. Mattias Ekholm seemed to be complaining about a slew foot by Desharnais that allowed him to take the puck, but that's definitely not how I saw it. Even Bob Cole, who usually never credits the Habs with anything, said "Can you believe the shift! By the little guy of the Canadiens. David Day.. Har.. Nay!" Great stuff.
It's unfortunately now time for me to get down to brass tax. Extra Skater has the Habs at 40.6% Corsi and 41.3% Fenwick for the night. The even strength numbers are equally bad, both when the score was close and when it was tied. I wasn't checking the page routinely during the game so I don't know what the first period was like, but I have to think the Habs were a positive possession club in that frame. Then they decided to sit on their lead as per usual, and as expected, the possession numbers dwindled.
This was much better than the outing in St. Louis, but it's still not the Habs team I want to see for 60 minutes. For 20 minutes and Le Shift it was exactly what I want to see, but I guess I'm insatiable because that isn't enough for me. I want them to keep working when they get a lead, not sit back and expect several minutes of brilliance to win an hour long game.
They do have a Christmas break now, and don't play again until Saturday the 28th. So maybe they'll figure things out, and also dump Murray. And maybe pigs will fly.
- Habs vs Predators: Scoring chances
- Top Six Minutes: The Good, The Bad and The Murray
- Complete coverage for the Habs' win over the Preds
- World Juniors 2014: Canada vs Sweden pre-tournament game thread
- Game Recap: Misery in Missouri
- WJC Game Recap: Canada comes back to double up Finland
- The Pocket Rocket hits 1000 points
- The Montreal Canadiens announce 12-Year regional broadcast deal with RDS
- 24CH Recap: Season 2, Episode 10
- Friday Habs Links: Is Andrei Markov overrated?