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Wilde: Don't count the Habs out yet
Published Monday, May 26, 2014 12:41PM EDT Last Updated Monday, May 26, 2014 12:43PM EDT
David Desharnais was the best Habs player on the night.
He has been the revelation of the playoffs.
His vision we all have known about, but the ability to keep winning the puck and rolling off defenceman to continue the offensive thrust is a gift I am not even sure Bergevin in his wildest dreams knew he had.
I know there is disappointment for Habs fans now but when they start to see with long term vision, they will get excited that Desharnais isn't the road block to a playoff series win but the catalyst.
I will be honest. This is a total shock to me.
Perhaps I am being too optimistic of how far he can take the team but I think very far as the number one centre.
Shocker but he's the best forward these playoffs night after night with Gallagher and Eller close behind.
Brendan Gallagher for being around the play all the time.
When the play is around you, you may not win all the battles but you know you're doing something well.
Your puck instincts are good. You're engaged. You're likely to make something happen.
Gallagher is all that.
It didn't always go his way in game four but the chance exists every night for good things with the way he plays.
Alex Galchenyuk Another reason Habs fans have to be excited about the future is seeing what Alex Galchenyuk can do in the playoffs.
So young still, just out of his teens, and the experience gained here is a big stepping stone to leading the team in the future.
A gorgeous pass of about 150 feet to almost free a breakaway and a late third period shot that destiny frowned upon off the iron, or the Habs are tied in the series.
Galchenyuk with no ill effects from the injury and an ability to elevate his game.
Will year three be the breakout? I think it will be.
Only caution I present to you is don't be anxious for the move to centre.
It doesn't have to arrest his development. Desharnais deserves to be a big part down the middle, maybe the biggest part.
With Eller having a strong playoff and Plekanec still well established, the centres are set.
Wing with big minutes is just fine for now.
Be angry if he doesn't start to get some big minutes though.
Therrien wears rookie glasses where he loses faith in his young guns and prefers worse mistakes from his experienced players.
He needs to let Galchenyuk be free. It's time.
Dustin Tokarski is a winner.
He loves a challenge. He is fearless.
He is one of those athletes who channels anxiety well.
He also made a lot of key saves and has made it a series when all looked over because of the Price injury.
Martin St. Louis made a great shot on the overtime winner but Tokarski can't let that in.
It was taken at a poor angle.
Tokarski needs to just stay on his feet and take the angle away like a wall. That shot can't go in.
Price would have just stood there and St. Louis would have had nothing to shoot at but wall if that scenario is handled right.
I know this is an unpopular opinion.
Everyone is saying it was a great shot. It was.
It was also a great shot that should have been stopped from that angle.
Sure he made one of the best glove saves you'll ever see earlier in the game but the OT one he should have had.
Mikael Bournival is on the cusp of a greatness he probably never thought he had in his game.
He is on the smart side of the puck most times.
He wins pucks with regularity.
He backs off defenders with ease with his speed.
He is a tremendous forechecker for the same reason.
He can become a 25 goal man in the NHL and reach great heights if he would just get even a small semblance of a shot.
His shot is just so awful, so little on it.
Get him a coach in the off-season.
Teach him how to shoot a little and Bournival will shock the world.
I am convinced of it. He's a second-line winger and a good one with a big career if he adds a shot to his skill set.
Remember I was the first one to tell you he will score 30 in his career which is a big number in today's NHL, if he just would learn how to shoot.
Francis Bouillon made Therrien look smart.
He scored on a gorgeous shot to the top corner but more than that he handled himself well on the defensive end.
Didn't like the move away from Beaulieu as Therrien put on his rookie glasses while the veteran Emelin continues to play despite clear weaknesses, but Bouillon made the move look like a one off.
Therrien has to start playing the kids more though.
They have to get tested more. Bouillon is close to done in Montreal.
He played with determination and courage. He was always a true pro.
Alexei Emelin This team has to find a way with a trade or roster move to get Alexei Emelin on the left side - his natural home.
He just doesn't have the tool box to handle the wrong side.
Emelin also needs to stop looking like a bad actor when he is trying to draw a penalty.
That doesn't fly with refs.
Thomas Vanek better be injured. He has to be.
Vanek when he was playing well could dispossess players so easily.
He could knock off a checker like he was a pee wee.
Vanek now doesn't appear to have any strength.
The change is too significant to not be an injury.
He'll still get a huge offer from a team who needs to make the playoffs and they will use his 30 to 35 goals to get to their playoff goal.
However, for a team already thinking about the final goal of a Stanley Cup, there is no chance to reach that goal with a $7 million passenger.
Remember though, if he is injured, forget all the words you're hearing from me and the rest of the hockey masses who are piling it on this player in extremely negative ways.
Max Pacioretty has improved his game in the playoffs tremendously, finally understanding how to work harder and keep fighting.
However in game four he just couldn't make it happen.
All those power plays on the first unit and not a single shot on net doesn't seem possible.
Pacioretty has to have a better night in game five or this is getting close to an end.
The top scorers, Vanek and Pacioretty, both not playing their best is too much to overcome.
Pacioretty is having a strong second half of these playoffs but he didn't get it done at all in game four.
The puck retrieval on dump ins on the power play was abysmal.
The work rate can't drop just because the other team has a guy in the box.
They're going to work harder. You can't work less.
However, the power play cost us the game script from the head coach is false.
They scored 1 out of 8. That's pretty close to the expected percentage in today's NHL.
It's a lazy out.
Would two of eight made a difference? Of course.
Two of eight is also 25 percent which is significantly higher than the NHL norm.
Not saying the power play was great but it's a lazy explanation for the night.
The series is far from over.
The two teams are too even for the Rangers to take three out of three at the Bell Centre.
There's more hockey to be played here.
It should be 2-2 in games. We shall see.
I don't like to predict. Sports makes you look foolish usually when you try to predict.
That's why I never meet anyone who says they're a sports gambler as a profession.
With that said, I think I will see you for game six, New York City.