Call of the Wilde: Nail, meet coffin
Published Sunday, April 16, 2017 9:57PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 17, 2017 10:59AM EDT
- Once again the line of Byron Plekanec and Gallagher gave the Rangers fits. Plekanec has spent so long looking for a couple of mates to play with. Even when he was a top line guy at the prime of his career, Plekanec searched for line mates. This is as much chemistry as I can remember him having with two guys. Byron in his first playoffs and he looks so ready for this battle. He's a very good puck battler. Also, he has lacrosse roots. He was a very good lacrosse player and says that lacrosse battling makes him feel that he doesn't have to back away from any physicality at all. Gallagher doing his usual playoff thing. There were worries when the club was in its molasses phase this season but Gallagher is back. The speed through the neutral zone is the key, instead of waiting at the blue line for the puck. This system works for him.
- The fourth line with Torrey Mitchell was vastly improved. He had a strong game on the forecheck and is another player who simply makes good hockey decisions. It is amazing, but that is so much of the battle in the post season. If you can't be hockey smart, you can't do this. Mitchell brought up the effectiveness of the entire line.
- Lehkonen with the wired shot into the top corner for the Habs to take the lead. Lehkonen has a wicked shot and soon he's going to figure out how to get into the dead zones of the ice to fire it more. When he does, look out. He will put up very good offensive numbers when he figures that out because that shot he has is deadly hard and accurate.
- The substitution of Davidson in place of Nesterov was a big up. Davidson skates well enough to handle this fast Rangers team and his decision making was solid. He brought up the game of Beaulieu who felt a lot more certain of his available choices with Davidson instead of Nesterov.
- Jordie Benn is so solid that you really don't notice him much. He just does his pretty much mistake free thing. How bad was the Stars defensive structure under Lindy Ruff that Benn wasn't really excelling there? I didn't watch enough Stars game to have a definitive answer for you but I suspect that it was pretty bad. Benn looks so certain to be here in Montreal for the next two years. To not protect him is to surely lose him.
- Another playoff performance from Jeff Petry. Talk about picking up your game in the playoffs. Great skaters and great puck movers. These are musts in the post season defencemen of the modern day NHLer.
- Radulov with an outstanding pass on the Habs second goal - a goal that featured so much talent. Galchenyuk gets Lundqvist to bite on his feint and then the slide over to Weber who has a gaping net. On the third goal, it was a Forsberg move but not in a shootout breakaway. No. He had a man draped all over him and he still made the move. That is just incredible, to do that with a player all over him. That will be in the highlight reels for a long time.
- Weber with close to 30 minutes as per usual. The Habs did a fantastic job of resting him, so he was ready to log a lot of ice. He's been the Habs best player in the first three games.
- Carey Price. Ho hum. The usual.
- Do you really think that there's going to be something in this segment when the Habs allow 21 shots?
- Two power play markers as Julien continues to make adjustments when something isn't working. The Habs started the series with Shaw on the power play and Pacioretty behind the net. Since then, many times a hot hand is out there with the extra attacker. Plekanec to Lehkonen once and Galchenyuk getting some love now as he has found his groove. Julien doing a lot of things right here.
- Momentum sure can swing. The Rangers were 18 seconds away from some nearly impossible math to overcome of 87% percent chance of taking the series if the Habs lost the first two. Now, the Habs have the upper hand but have to make sure that they don't find a way to give it back. Trust me, this wacky game can surprise you.