The Engels Angle: Habs lose 3-Straight + Darche for the Season?
By Eric Engels
Published Friday, February 11, 2011 10:33AM EST
MONTREAL - Consider the point in the standings the Canadiens earned last night to be a valuable one, but it's the extra one they left on the table for the Islanders to grab that really stands out.
Granted Montreal was playing for the second time in as many nights (might as well have been the third given the war they fought in Boston on Wednesday), and granted it was against the last place Islanders, but there was something the Canadiens stood to gain that may have been a little more valuable than the point they lost in the standings.
A quick redemption, after the bruising battle in Boston, was crucial for the team.
By not achieving one, they extended their losing streak to three games, this after the team busted out of the All-Star break with three-straight wins.
With that the Canadiens look forward, trying to get their first win in their last four attempts at beating Toronto--no small task.
If there's anything that last night's game reinforced, it's that no task is small at this level.
The Islanders gave the Canadiens a good game, and the Canadiens gave the Islanders too much to work with.
To be precise, they gave the Islanders three goals on complete defensive breakdowns, and gave them three chances to win the game in the shootout, which Kyle Okposo eventually delivered.
Credit the team for fighting hard.
Already down Cammalleri, Markov and Gorges, Hal Gill and Mathieu Darche were added to the list of wounded Habs.
It was later reported by Dave Morisette of RDS that Darche is likely out for the rest of the season (Morisette's source--Darche himself).
Credit the kids for picking up their games.
David Desharnais has been electric in his last two contests, and certainly merits a bigger role with the team.
Ryan White stepped into the line up and had a much bigger impact than he did before the All-Star break.
Benoit Pouliot snapped a 7-game goal-less drought, and Max Pacioretty continued on his hot streak, notching his third goal and sixth point over the last six games.
But when the kids are leading the charge on a team laden with veteran leaders that currently hold the primary roles, chances are it doesn't bode well for the team's success rate.
Scott Gomez caught the wrong kind of attention from the Bell Centre crowd, and linemates Lars Eller and Andrei Kostitsyn may as well have been playing with me (they'd have gotten as much accomplished).
Tomas Plekanec had a strong game, but couldn't capitalize on his best chance of the night-- in the shootout against a rookie goaltender. Same goes for Brian Gionta.
If the Habs wanted to forget the Boston debacle, they'd certainly like to erase last night's loss with a win against Toronto Saturday. Not like they have a choice...
Keep your eyes on the standings tonight, with Boston hosting Detroit, and the Rangers in Atlanta.