Call of the Wilde: The hungrier team wins
CTV Montreal Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017 9:58PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 19, 2017 7:47AM EDT
New York Ranger Rick Nash scores on Canadien Carey Price in Game 4 of the first round of the 2017 playoffs (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
- Galchenyuk with the first real sweet play of the first period about halfway through: a gorgeous pass to Shaw to spring him on a breakaway. Galchenyuk is back in a bigger role and he deserves to be there because of solid play. It was exactly what the Habs had to have. He has earned that promotion, and that is vital. It's not the "put him there and hope for the best" scenario. Galchenyuk completed his ascension up the depth chart late in the second period when he became the number one centre on the team playing with Radulov and Lehkonen. It's wild to see how quickly things can change.
- Things have become a lot steadier since Davidson and Mitchell joined the lineup. Playing with Davidson instead of Nesterov has made Beaulieu a much better player. Your partner always matters, but I am not sure you'll see too many better examples of it mattering more than Beaulieu with Davidson.
- The Habs met a team that was hungrier than them. The Rangers simply brought more to game four. They knew they were likely done without a good effort and they played like they didn't have a hope if they lost. They were also embarrassed in game three and didn't want that to happen again. The Habs looked happy that they took one in New York City, and played like they were satisfied until the last 10 minutes -- which was too late. You can't win when you're not as hungry. No team is that clearly more talented that they can withstand their own lack of desperation.
- Markov makes very few mistakes but he made one that cost the Habs the first goal. He mishandled the puck in a harmless situation behind the net and basically passed it to Jesper Fast. Price was not alert for that type of blunder. It was a big moment for the Rangers who were not looking all that confident before it.
- Second goal. It is very rare to see Price not take away the bottom of the ice on a situation a foot in front of him. He was of two minds when he tried the poke check and failed. Pacioretty also takes a minus on that one, doing a fly-by at the blue line instead of neutralizing the defenceman. Hockey is a game of mistakes and that goal had two for sure, if not more with Benn and Petry not executing fairly doable clears.
- The Nash ten-pin bowling simulation of Price in the first period is a discouraging turn to hockey recently to my mind. He was not pushed in to Price. His path was not altered in anyway. He simply skated right to and then right through Price. It's two minutes of penalty and that's fine I suppose. But how many minutes should it be if Price is gone from the game and more? Goalies are so vulnerable in there. They have to concentrate on the puck and at the same time 240 pounds is running them down. I hate it. The NFL learned they had to protect their quarterbacks but the NHL has no such protection plans for its vulnerable players.
- Shaw breakaway. Mitchell breakaway. The Rangers are not in this series without Lundqvist. He entered the playoffs cold. He will finish them hot.
- It's a best of 3 now with the Habs having two home games. That should be an advantage for the Habs but the Rangers were the best road team in the league. More exciting and perhaps legendary moments to come in this series. The playoffs are highs and lows, especially for fans who believe that their heroes are the best in the league after a win and a bunch of bums after a loss. Here's the truth Habs fans: All your boys in red, white and blue have to do over two months is be four games over .500 when they award the trophy. See you on Thursday.