We have to worry though whether this just wallpapers some fundamental issues with our team as we enter the playoffs. We had a streak recently in which we won 10 out of 12 games, we were counter-Leafing, as it were, but since the win against the Panthers, things have been more difficult. In six games, we have three wins, including one against dispirited Ottawa and tonight's unconvincing affair. We lost in overtime against the Blackhawks, which is forgivable, but also against the AHL squad iced by the Islanders, and against our rivals the Lightning.
All in all, it's not as bleak as it looked last season going into the playoffs. We're healthier, and more importantly, Carey Price looks as good as he ever has. But there are important areas of concern. The powerplay has died. Team defence has suffered also, surrendering way too many shots, certainly compared to earlier this season. P.K. Subban looks confused out there, and compensates by trying harder, and making more mistakes. Our #1 line has stopped gushing goals.
We saw some boneheaded play out of Ranger Derek Dorsett, who stuck a knee out when beaten on a play, twice in one game. This is the type of player that needs to be removed from the NHL. He only has a job because of his knuckles, and has to scramble to keep up with the play. His reaction, his response to his lack of hockey talent, could have led to a serious injury tonight. Hey Gary Bettman, get these goons out of your league, if you really care about player safety!
Francis Bouillon, who has become a whipping boy for the intolerant on social media, showed his mettle by taking on Mr. Dorsett to make him account for his cheap, dangerous knee on David Desharnais. The tale of the tape might have showed that this would be mismatch, but Francis got in some good shots and had Mr. Dorsett in trouble the whole fight. Maybe it was his sheepishness at being such a bonehead that got in his way.
P.K. Subban was subjected to a thorough dissection on l'Antichambre, for his scattered play, but also for his response to Derek Dorsett's initial knee on David Desharnais. P.K. charged at Derek Dorsett and swerved by, but didn't engage. I think everyone is unanimous, if P.K. wants to be a tough guy, a Chris Chelios or a Lyle Odelein, that's fine. Be tough. If he's not going to be tough though, he shouldn't act tough. He shouldn't accost Derek Dorsett if he's not going to stand up to him.
The game ended on a spectacular note, with the Canadiens captain being awarded his penalty shot for being tripped while on a clear breakaway chance. He deked out and put the puck in on the backhand on Cam Talbot, who was subbing in for Henrik Lundqvist tonight to give the latter a rest before the playoffs.
So a 100 point season, a very good result for our boys. I have to tip my hat, I had them pegged for an 80-90 point year, and to be in a dogfight to even make the playoffs. So more than mission accomplished for the Habs, but then again not really, all this can be completed obscured by a poor showing in the playoffs. So rest up boys, practice hard, and let's start strong on Wednesday night.