Regular season game #34
The only real question to be asked after the Habs once again blanked the New York Rangers at the Bell Center is whether or not Coach Torts was sufficiently entertained this time. Following a similar 3-0 loss back on February 23, the friendly Rangers coach bemoaned the lack of excitement to the game. He was particularly frustrated with the lack of intensity displayed by his own players, and one can assume that his pre game message was to not let the Canadiens get out to a quick start.
Just 47 seconds in to the game, Michael Ryder beat Rangers backup Mathieu Biron for what would count as the game winning goal. Coach Torts probably took no comfort in his team’s substantially better effort this time around, as they out shot, out hit, and one could perhaps say outplayed the Canadiens for most of the game. The result was the same; another loss in what looks like a lost season for the Rangers, and perhaps the last for Coach Torts behind the Rangers bench.
The game story for the Habs was one that fans of the bleu-blanc-rouge hope to see replayed for years to come: brilliance from Carey Price, a three point night for P.K. Subban, and a nail-in-the-coffin goal from potential Calder trophy candidate Brendan Gallagher.
As hard as the Rangers pushed to get the game back on even terms, Carey Price’s precise movements and poised control left anyone who watched with the impression that any kind of comeback was not in the cards for the visiting team.
The game was also a career first for Habs 2011 first round pick Nathan Beaulieu, who did not look out of place in his 17-plus minutes of ice time. He showed flashes of the slick offensive defenseman that he was touted as when the Habs selected him 17th overall. Although the Hamilton Bulldogs are having a miserable season, Habs fans have to be encouraged by the three auditions of Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi and now Beaulieu. It’s doubtful that either of the three youngsters will fill the void that GM Marc Bergevin would like to fill before the April 3rd deadline, but there’s little doubt that all three are legitimate NHL defensemen in waiting, perhaps as soon as next season for at least one of the three prospects.
While the game vs the Rangers was Carey Price’s 18th career shutout, it was another exercise in predictability, as the Rangers are 0-9-1 in Montreal in their last 10 visits, and have been shut out four times during that span. The two points put the Canadiens three points clear of the slumping Boston Bruins, who hold one game in hand in the chase for the North East division title.
With the Hurricanes in town on Monday, the Habs have another good chance to pad their stats even further. It’s also Bergevin’s last chance to gauge what he believes his team may or may not need before the trade window closes.
Follow me on twitter: @kyleroussel