We all knew that it would inevitably happen, but the slump has been busted. And it wasn't the only slump that was busted last night.
Lars Eller busted a twelve game goalless drought with a one-timer off of a fantastic pass from Alex Galchenyuk on the powerplay.
Galchenyuk himself busted a 5 game skid, during which time he was -6. Galchenyuk had a spectacular game, firing a career high 6 shots on net in a career high 17:54. Galchenyuk's ice time is up by nearly 3.5 minutes per game over last year, and I have a feeling that we'll be looking at an even larger increase by season's end. When he finally figures out how to get his shot on net, the kid is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
The opposite of a slump would be P.K. Subban, who once again lead the way at both ends of the ice. Subban extended his current point streak to 5 games, and is tied for 21st in the NHL in scoring with 17 points, leading all Canadiens. And you know what's scary about how good Subban has been? His shooting percentage is just over half of what it was last year. That's right, he's completing at a below average rate.
Also brilliant last night was Carey Price, but that has become so commonplace that it's hardly worth mentioning. The Canadiens' defense made it particularly hard on him at times last night though, the biggest example of that was leaving Kyle Okposo all alone with most of the defensive zone to attempt a deke, but Price shut him down.
Raphael Diaz in particular was mistake prone, specifically doing his usual "hold on to the puck way too long below the goal line and try a soft pass up the boards when there's no way it'll work" routine. That directly caused the Islanders' first goal of the night, and resulted in Diaz having his ice time cut down 17:51, 5th among Habs defensemen.
Aside from the kid line scoring one apiece, the consistently excellent Michael Bournival also factored in with a powerplay marker. The rookie forward now has 9 points in his last 12 games, and I have to ask again why he's not getting more attention from the media, in particular the French media. A Shawinigan native, Bournival is 7th in scoring among rookies, right below Nathan MacKinnon and ahead of Aleksander Barkov. If Desharnais had put up the same production, RDS would probably still be fawning over him.
And speaking of David Desharnais, it really looks like the organization is close to giving up. His line couldn't keep the puck out of their end, the only line that struggled against the Islanders. Of the 20 even strength shots the Canadiens gave up, 9 came with Desharnais on the ice. 45% of the shots against came in the just 27.5% of even strength ice time that Desharnais was on the ice.
The ugly streak for Desharnais reaches new heights in every game; 23 games without a goal, 1 goal in 34 games, 2 goals in 44 games. It's ugly, and the coaching staff has no answers. I don't see him ending this season as a Hab, but with every futile effort, the options for moving him are more and more limited. When even the newly elected mayor is calling you out on twitter, the situation is out of control.
Without Desharnais on the ice last night, Montreal jumps from a 54% Fenwick performance, to a 65.1% Fenwick performance.
But let's not dwell on the negative, as the Canadiens have strung together back-to-back positive possession games, and the problems keeping them from being dominant games should be alleviated soon.
The third defense pairing is going to be a lot better when Alexei Emelin returns, and the defensive hole that currently is Desharnais should be mitigated when Brandon Prust is ready to go. And at least for Alexei Emelin, that return is going to be very soon.
Danny Briere also enters the mix, and you have to wonder if that means more games on the sidelines for Desharnais?
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More from Eyes On The Prize:
- Top Six Minutes - The EGG Line Is Good For You Edition
- Carey Price makes the save of the year against Kyle Okposo
- Why Islanders fans hate Kirk Muller
- This year matters for the Montreal Canadiens
- Douglas Murray: Shootout specialist?
- P.K. Subban sees himself next to Crosby with a gold medal in Sochi