Canadiens vs. Blues 10 Takeaways: Habs deserved a better fate

St. Louis takes two points from the Habs in their final home game before the bye.

1. The Habs were good

By the eye test or by stats, the Canadiens played a good hockey game. They outshot and out-chanced the Blues but just couldn’t get the bounces they needed to come out on top. I’ll take a loss like this over the uninspired ones of the last week, though.

2. Alexander Radulov

Let’s just get this one out of the way early. We’ve watched this guy for 57 games so far and he is somehow still impressing us every single game. He was the driving force behind what offence the Habs could muster in this game. His skill and speed are important, but more often than not he just simply outworks the opponent. He’s a special player.

3. Artturi Lehkonen

This kid is going to be a good NHL player for a long time. He’s quick, he’s skilled, and, most importantly, he is so smart with the puck. He constantly makes the right decisions at the right moment and never makes the panic move. The Habs have a keeper.

4. Greg Pateryn

Pateryn seems to be the player we all hoped Ryan O’Byrne would be. He’s physical, quick, and he consistently makes smart plays with the puck. O’Byrne unfortunately fell victim to a lack of confidence inspired by repeated benchings after any mistake and never became the player the Habs were banking on. Hopefully the lesson has been learned and Pateryn can continue to learn from mistakes rather than fear them.

5. Daniel Carr & Michael McCarron

Carr and McCarron add exactly what the lineup had been missing with Gallagher out. They bring the physicality, energy, intensity, and the tenacity that were missing from a couple flat games earlier in the week. Intangibles, yes, but important skills nonetheless. It was a smart move from the coach and GM to get them playing together.

6. Shea Weber

I continue to watch each bomb from the point with my eyes half covered in fear of the carnage that may ensue. Weber manages to switch his shot up enough to keep opposing teams guessing. Will it be a quick wrister? Will he slide down to the circles and snap one in? Or will he attempt to put the puck right through the goaltender? It almost doesn’t matter, as he showed last night, because even when he telegraphs that giant slapshot, it’s still unstoppable.

7. Andrei Markov

The General knows his way around a hockey game. He has been and continues to be the Canadiens’ best and most consistently successful passer, even on nights where they can’t seem to find a friendly stick on the ice. And even as he ages and injuries take their toll, as he loses speed, he constantly adjusts his game to continue to be steady and effective.

8. Max Pacioretty

Two games in a row, the captain of the Montreal Canadiens has put the team on his back and led the way. Coming off a 10-shot, four-point night, Pacioretty, along with Radulov and Phillip Danault, was wreaking havoc in the Blues’ end on every single shift and was in on both Habs goals. He has certainly set the on-ice model for his teammates to follow.

9. Kirk Muller

The Habs had a nice-looking power play. Good skating, good puck movement, good chances. Shame we only got to see it once.

10. Shipping Up to Boston

The Canadiens outplayed the Blues and lost. If they’d played this game in late October, they would have won 6-0. Puck luck has changed and it very likely will change again; hopefully by tonight when they Habs roll into Boston to take on the surging Bruins. But, if not then, at least before the beginning of April would be good.

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