Regular season game #23
R.I.P. Habs consecutive points streak; February 12, 2013 – March 5, 2013.
In case you’re wondering, the Habs had picked up points in 11 consecutive games, going 8-0-3 in that stretch. Not too shabby, and probably twice as long as any of us would have thought they’d go this season. Of course, whenever the Habs lose to the Islanders, it’s frustrating. The divide in Habsland tonight is where fans use the success of the last 11 games to pardon a bad performance versus the fans who think that a loss to the Islanders is unacceptable at any point. I don’t have a problem with either camp, frankly, but 14-5-4 says nobody should really panic, either. If there is an area of concern at the present, it would be in goaltending and team defense. Carey Price has been largely hung out to dry in his past two starts, giving up 12 goals in the process. As the Canadiens have increased their goal scoring and cut back on shots against since last season, Price will continue to be a target, fair or not until he gets it back on track, and for my fantasy pool’s sake, I hope that he does soon. The Canadiens need to get both departments in order quickly, or else 11 games of bliss will turn in to a run of games that will negate much good work and good will.
Coming in to this game, many had the feeling that this could have been one of the infamous “trap games”, where the inevitable dip in performance following an emotional game, such as we saw Sunday in Boston would occur. Couple that with an inability to consistently beat the Islanders in recent years, and you have a recipe for a loss.
This is another game to file and forget. The Canadiens have yet to lose consecutive games in regulation time this season, and that bodes well for Thursday’s game in Carolina.
Some other things to be positive about: After 23 games this season, the Canadiens have lost by more than two goals just three times. After 23 games last season, they had lost by two or more a total of seven times. After 23 games last season, they had won five games by two or more goals. This season they’ve accomplished that feat eight times. Last year, when opposition had scored three or more goals after 23 games, the Habs were 1-7-3 (though two games saw opposition’s shootout winner being their third goal). This year? 4-3-3. I call this all significant progress. To this point, Michel Therrien has pushed all of the right buttons and made all of the correct adjustments to correct course. There’s no reason to believe that he won’t do that again in short order.
I would be remiss if I did not mention Brian Gionta’s goal, which was his team’s 20,000th goal in its history as a part of the NHL. Too bad it didn’t count for more.
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