1. I get not moving Alex Galchenyuk to centre.
When the news broke that David Desharnais would miss time due to injury the Habs universe's instant reaction was that Galchenyuk be moved to centre. When this didn't happen the typical reactions ensued. "Fire Therrien," "Therrien is an idiot" and so on and so on. While these reactions are both merited and true I understand the reasoning behind Michel Therrien not slotting Galchenyuk to centre.
Jacob de la Rose is a responsible defensive forward who has shown that he can be effective in a shutdown role.
The line of Galchenyuk-Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher has been the Habs' best line recently, you don't mess with that.
It's time to see what Lars Eller can do with Max Pacioretty.
2. The Habs top and bottom 6 could not be more defined.
Wow. I remember the days where the Habs could run four lines and you had a feeling any of them could score.
At their worst they could field a threatening top 9 with a fourth line that could chip in here and there.
Last night? The top 6 and bottom 6 are so apparent, the divide is scary.
That top 6 doesn't exactly scream "danger."
Paul Byron-De la Rose-Dale Weise
Lucas Lessio-Torrey Mitchell-Devante Smith-Pelly.
That third line is your ideal fourth line.
3. Lessio looked legit.
I'll never pass up the opportunity for some alliteration.
We saw a glimpse of it during his short debut but last night he was impressive. He can really skate and I mean REALLY skate. He has a very powerful stride and it's a quick stride too. He was miles ahead of his matchup and I hope he gets more of an opportunity to show his stuff. He had a really key backcheck in the second period to negate and Avalanche 2 on 1.The Habs have a lot of youth waiting in the wings and we could see them on display if Bergevin sells of Therrien's vets.
4. Message received?
Coaching limitations aside, the Habs just weren't putting forth the effort necessary to win games. That could have something to do with who the coach is but the players can't let feelings for their coach affect their on-ice effort. Therrien bag skated his corps and made it clear that he wants more from his group. Usage aside, I like this tactic. He's completely right.
The effort was there. The Habs jumped right into the pool while the Avalanche were still testing the water temperature.
They had an 8-1 shot lead 10 minutes into the game which included the nifty Markov marker.
5. I hope the scouts noticed Gilbert as much as I did.
He's well on his way to earning Trevor Timmins an extra 2nd rounder to work with. He had an aggressive game, especially in the offensive zone. He made key reads and pinches that led to offenzive chances. He is definitely benefiting from the quick-footed Nathan Beaulieu.
6. Lars Eller passed the audition.
I really liked his line last night. Pacioretty looked rejuvenated. Ok, I may be wanting to see a rejuvenated Pacioretty more than there actually was a rejuvenated Pacioretty but I thought it was the best game Max played in weeks.
That whole line was engaged. They were smart, efficient and made a difference on the scoresheet. Eller's goal was perfect cap to a well executed forecheck by Andrighetto. The Sweet Swiss made Varlomov rush behind his net, the Captain made a quick feed and Eller made no mistake. David Desharnais would have botched it.
7. Alexei Emelin playing over Mark Barberio is a travesty.
Emelin looked lost again last night. This seems to be a takeaway after every game. I try to avoid being too repetitive but Emelin is constantly noticeably bad. He causes his team to be hemmed in their zone because he can't make quick decisions easily. He throws it to open wings way too often. He bobbles easy pass receptions and has no foot speed. It's a disaster for Emelin right now. It's a shame a real talented player in Barberio is sitting in favour of this. Fans of the tank would disagree.
8. The Oscar goes to...
Ben Scrivens. What a flop that was. Kudos to him for drawing the penalty. He was bumped so the goal would have been called back but good on Scrivens to get the man advantage for his squad. I guess the hockey gods weren't amused with the call though.
9. Therrien made sure he went out of his way to take down PK.
Yeah, PK turned the puck over in a bad spot that led to the Avalanche scoring the game winning goal.
Therrien went out of his way to blame the loss on P.K.
Therrien isn't wrong. P.K. did cause a turnover that led to the Avalanche winning the game. Here's the question: Why does Therrien have to take P.K. down publicly? What is gained by that?
Here's another question: Where is the blame for the three players who let the Avs walk right in and seal it?
Therrien is puffing out his chest and taking advantage of the carte blanche that his buddy in the foxhole gave him. It's pathetic. I'm ashamed of Therrien, by association Bergevin, and by association Molson.
10. The Habs dominated the entire game. The Avalanche took advantage of the Habs' mistakes.
The three Avalanche goals were scored as a direct result of Montreal errors. Aside from that, the Habs deserved the win.