1. Habs deserved a better fate
Yes it’s another loss but there isn’t much to be negative about. The Canadiens offence pounded the Islanders on Monday night. Thomas Greiss was floundering all over the crease as the Habs threw everything except for Karl Alzner’s contract at him, and scored four goals. The Isles managed just 24 shots total. The issue is that early in the game, almost every single shot ended up being a high danger chance that beat Carey Price. John Tavares posted an 18.75% CF at even strength, and Tomas Plekanec’s line did a great job of keeping him locked down at 5v5, but when given just enough space he made the most of it with two goals overall.
Only two Habs finished below 50% in possession: Jacob de la Rose and Byron Froese, who ended up finishing the game with Daniel Carr on their line. If the Habs are not going to make the playoffs, more games like this one would be great. Show the fans this core can play, get a top prospect, and then come back next year and hopefully launch back into the playoffs. As for tonight, the Habs likely deserved a win, but deserves has nothing to do with it.
2. Oh Captain, My Captain
Max Pacioretty heard all the trade rumours. He dealt with them almost from the outset of the season, and likely will continue to do so as this season goes on. He decided to show the Habs exactly why they can’t afford to let him go from this team. His tip-in goal extended a four-game goal scoring streak for the Habs captain, effectively silencing many of his critics for the time being.
Not only did he tie the game with his goal, he came back down the ice not long after, and drew another penalty that gave the Canadiens power play a major chance to win the game late in the third period. Even if the Habs are going to be out of the playoff hunt, let Pacioretty ride and score goals. Removing him from the team this year creates a major hole for next year’s roster, so it’s wise to tread carefully at this point.
3. Jakub Jerabek’s wild ride
The Czech defender had an absolute roller coaster of a night, being a key part in multiple goals, for better and for worse. He was slow to react in coverage on Anthony Beauvillier’s opening goal, forcing Paul Byron to react and not get back in time to take away the shot. Then Mathew Barzal walked through Jerabek and the entire defence to score the Isles second goal.
Then he turned things around before the opening twenty minutes were over. Byron Froese forced a turnover and Jerabek fed a perfect pass to Nicolas Deslauriers in front of the net, and Deslauriers smoothly finished the play off with aplomb. On Jonathan Drouin’s backhand goal, Jerabek calmly carries the puck up into the high danger area, waits to open a lane and gets a shot in on net that creates a scramble. Drouin finished the play, but the set up by Jerabek is worth pointing out.
Then he got caught a bit out of place in overtime and John Tavares won the game for the Islanders, it was a wild ride for the Czech defender, but it’s clear he brings a lot to the table for the Habs and belongs in the NHL.
4. I don’t understand NHL officiating
David Schlemko scored his first goal in a Canadiens uniform and was absolutely jacked up about it.
Until he didn’t because someone’s skate was nanometers off the ice according to the NHL’s top quality potato cameras. I get why the NHL installed these new offside rules and challenges, to cut down on massive blown calls like Danny Briere’s 2012 playoff goal against Pittsburgh. In this case though it’s almost ridiculous. It was a lengthy review that destroyed the flow of play, to overturn a goal because a skate was off of the ice by just a wee bit well before the puck entered the net.
By the letter of the rule, it was the right call. But it’s a dumb rule.
However, there are no excuses for the utterly atrocious call on Paul Byron where Jordan Eberle fell down on his own, wiped out Byron who was in on a 2-on-0 with Charles Hudon, and somehow ended up in the penalty box.
Jordan Eberle falls down on his own, and somehow Paul Byron gets a two minute penalty for it. pic.twitter.com/Y5OeCcjsNG— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 16, 2018
Not only did Byron do nothing to Eberle and get a penalty, the official making the call is staring at them as they skated into the Islanders zone. It’s not the reason the Canadiens lost, but the NHL needs to sort this sort of nonsense out, they’ve only had 100 years to get it right.
5. John Tavares is going to look great in Montreal (Right?)
I mean is there anything this guy can’t do on the ice?
Shorthanded goal with ease on the best goalie in the world, then a dominant overtime shift to win the game for his team. If Tavares does somehow end up in Montreal this off-season, he’s going to turn this team and it’s offence into an absolute juggernaut. Imagine him playing with Max Pacioretty?
There are no guarantees that he’s going to leave the Islanders, in fact I personally would be shocked by it, but if he is coming to Montreal the fans tonight got a pretty good look at just how incredible he is.