In another game of ups and downs, the Habs fell to the visiting Rangers 4-3 in a shootout last night. There were times where the team looked competitive, but things still seem to be a work-in-progress as it pertains to a complete effort.
Case in point was the third period, where the Canadiens were outshot 16-5. If you were to only look at the box score and see that they scored 2 goals on those 5 shots you'd likely assume it was an efficient period, yet the score clearly doesn't tell the full story. The Markov goal was essentially a gaffe by Lundqvist, and were it not for that, the Canadiens would have lost another game at home during this crucial stretch drive. There just doesn't seem to be adequate focus to play an entire game, which is odd, since the switch to Gainey behind the bench was supposed to address that very problem. The powerplay was also less than stellar (1-for-6), and despite a great regulation and OT, Carey Price looked vulnerable in allowing all three Rangers shooters to score in the shootout. I know that it's essentially a hit-or-miss situation when you get to that point, but I still think that you need your
"franchise" goalie to make at least 1 save if you're going to have aspirations of going anywhere.
Fortunately, things weren't all bad, as Maxim Lapierre put in another inspired performance and scored a nice goal for his efforts. Andrei Markov was also solid with a goal, two assists and a +2 rating. There were certainly signs that the team may still have enough talent to make the playoffs, but they need to get it together in a hurry if that's going to be the case.
The next game is Thursday night in Ottawa against the Senators (6-3-1 in their last 10).