Once more tonight, the Canadiens just didn't seem ready to play when the puck dropped for the initial face-off. Well, the Canadiens besides Carey Price. He was ready, he was on his game, he was tracking the puck really well and he would have deserved win 316 but it just wasn't in the cards. Had he not been in net, the Islanders would have had the 2 points in the bag after the first period. New York shot 15 times on Price's net in the first period alone while the Canadiens finally managed to get 9 on Greiss' net but at the end of the day, as Claude Julien said, the Tricolore was quite simply outplayed in the first 20 minutes.
They did wake up in the 2nd period but unfortunately, it's the opponent who managed to get one past Price to make it 1-0 early on in the period. Jordie Benn tied things up with a shot from the blue line just after the 18th minute mark. That was Benn's 5th goal of the season a career high for him. That goal did give Habs fans some hope as the Tricolore outshot the Isles 16-14 in the second but they just couldn't get a second goal.
The third was tightly contested and the Canadiens were right in the thick of it until there was about 3 minutes to go. They were in the offensive zone when Jonathan Drouin tried to make a pass which wasn't really aimed to anyone and confused both Max Domi and Brett Kulak. The latter skated forward to get it while the former moved forward to do the same and somehow, Domi came away with the puck but fell and gave New York a 2 on 1. Petry tried his best to defend it but when he forced Barzal to pass the puck, Anders Lee was all alone and ready in front of Price... He made no mistake. Game, set and match Islanders.
A few comments:
-I'm starting to wonder if next year's digital membership linked to Drouin might be 25 points for every turnover he makes. We all know he has some issue on D but we can live with them if he produces offensively but when he doesn't, it really is a drag on this team;
-Shea Weber looked like he might have injured himself on a couple of plays by the boards tonight. He was clearly in pain and once again played through it but was that really a good move? His mobility is not optimal at the best of times but when in pain, it can be cringeworthy to watch;
-Speaking of Weber, Jordan Weal put him in an awkward position on the power play when he made two questionnable passes on our pathetic excuse for a special unit...Hopefully this ends the Weal on the PP experiment;
-As for the PP, I loved Captain Kirk as a player but now, he's the PP coach and that unit has not produced all year. At the end of the day, the buck has got to stop somewhere and I'm afraid it should be in front of him;
-In post game comments, Carey Price mentioned that the Isles were ready, they were in playoffs mode. The building and the crowd were rocking and the goaltender was clearly sending a message to his teammates there; they need to be ready too;
Thankfully, the Flyers lost to the Capitals tonight and therefore did not gain any ground on the Habs in 9th place. The Penguins blanked the Sabres 5-0 and moved closer still to safety with 87 points while the Canes are on 83 and the Jackets on 81 (like the Habs). Montreal has got the night off tomorrow while Carolina and Columbus are playing one another. At this stage, I guess it's better to wish that the Canes come out on top in regulation which would leave the Jackets in the 2nd wild card spot and the Habs still in the running in theory.
Before I leave you for tonight, I don't know if some of you were watching on RDS tonight but they showed a feature on the Pocket Rocket which was focused on his grandchildren and his fight with Alzheimer's. I found it quite moving and sad, maybe it's because my grandmother had it as well and was in perfect shape aside from that but it just made me think, if you're lucky enough to have any of your grandparents still around, take the time to visit them before it's too late. And too late can be way before they pass because Alzheimer's just takes the essence of your loved one away. They're still there but not really...When they look at you and try to remember who you are but can't you can literally see their heart break a little every time because they know they should know you. For his and his loved ones sake, I hope Henri Richard doesn't have to cope with this awful disease for too long...