1. The Habs' Winter Classic uniforms are CHOICE.
They look really good in them. They should wear them more often.
2. The Bruins had no answer for the Habs' speed, but the Habs had no answer for the Bruins' physicality.
It was evident from the get-go that the Habs were trying to wheel their way through the Bruins all night. We were seeing things from Montreal that we haven't seen since they last played the Bruins.
They were weaving through the neutral zone, entering the offensive zone with ease and circling through it relatively untouched. One thing I noticed was that the left wingers would barrel into the offensive zone and then stop suddenly to look for the pass. They fooled the defender every single time.
On the opposite side of the coin, the Bruins were able to slow the game down and play to their style. They clogged passing lanes and got their bodies in on puck carriers which really gave the Habs headaches. This led to the following point.
3. The Habs defense really struggled with their first passes.
The Bruins made it very difficult for the Habs to get the puck out of their zone efficiently. There were two plays that were glaring to me early on in the game:
Jeff Petry weakly backhanding the puck right into the slot.
Andrei Markov failing to clear the zone, and instead passing the puck directly to Talbot after Condon made a stellar breakaway save.
4. Andrei Markov is really struggling to find his game.
The Markov play described above was especially horrific, and it is something that has been happening more and more to the aging general. Chalk it up to mid-season fatigue, lack of focus, or whatever else you can think of, the fact of the matter is that Markov is struggling with those individual high-danger plays.
Is anyone else noticing the constant botched pass receptions? I'm not just talking about the low percentage plays, I'm talking about the easy passes back to the point on the power play. It happened twice on a key powerplay in the 2nd period. forwards passed the puck routinely back their point, the puck was bobbled, and zone possession was lost.
5. The Habs fell behind early again.
6. PK Subban needs to shoot the puck when he gives himself the shot.
There were two moments in the game where he expertly deked out his defender to create excellent shooting position for himself, and chose to pass it off rather than go for the shot. As a fan this is frustrating, from the coach's perspective it must be maddening.
Your team can't score, you use your talent to create scoring chances, and then you squander those chances away. Keep it simple, and put the puck on the net.It's funny, when PK received a great Desharnais pass in the high slot, he passed it off and it resulted in a goal.
The difference between the Barberio goal and the plays I am describing above is that PK didn't have the shot in this situation, and Barberio did. PK's lane was cluttered with traffic, while Mark Barberio had a clear path to the net. I half expected PK to force it in there, but instead he found Barberio.
7. Fitting that they're wearing their Winter Classic jerseys, because the Barberio goal blew the roof off the Bell Centre.
What a moment for him. It doesn't get much better than scoring your first goal as a Hab in Montreal against Boston. Last night's game made Barberio waiver eligible, but at this rate there is no scenario in which Barberio be should be sent down. Barberio had a stellar game. Bargain Bergevin strikes again.
8. Dale Weise is where pucks go to die.
I really don't know what to make of Weise anymore. It seemed like every time he touched the puck, he forgot how to play the game. I noticed this in the first period and kept a tally of what happened when Weise received a pass while streaking up his wing into the offensive zone.
-Stopped skating as puck bounced off his stick listlessly into the corner.
-Bumped into a Bruin and stood there as the Bruin took the puck away.
It's concerning to me, but must be more concerning to his agent.
9. Am I the only one who didn't notice Tomas Fleischmann?
Aside from two shots in the early 1st period, I didn't notice him at all. I actually thought he was injured.
10. The Habs just didn't have it, despite what the numbers said.
From a numbers perspective, the Habs looked great. Every player had a positive even strength shot attempt differential except for 4:
Markov and Torrey Mitchell were the only players to finish with negative shot attempt differentials in all situations at -1 and -2 respectively.
While the Habs peppered Rask with shots (final tally of 39-24 Montreal) the Habs finished with 11 even strength scoring chances to the Bruins' 10. This leads you to draw conclusions of "perimeter shooting" and what not. I can tell you this; at no point did I think the Habs put 39 shots on net.
They just didn't seem like the better team to me. It's a shame that the struggles are continuing, that they still can't put the puck in the net, and that as a result they're losing, and losing, and losing. The amount of "soon" in "they better figure it out soon," is rapidly deteriorating.
Something has to give, because right now they are out of a playoff spot and things aren't looking good.