I was at the game last night. I was excited to see, in person, these new Canadiens that skated, scored, and generally had some fun. I even predicted a 5-3 win for the Habs – it was only this past Saturday that they put up six goals against the Sabres.
I went home last night, and pondered why the Habs had converted every opportunity against the Sabres, but could only muster a goal from a point shot against the Bruins. Then it dawned on me, the Bruins didn’t let the Habs crowd the crease and score those nifty back door goals we saw so many of on Saturday. The Bruins are just too good around their own net. Let me elaborate through my favourite new medium – the screen shot.
On Saturday, 5 of the 6 Habs goals came from right at the edge of the crease.
Goal 1 – Rene Bourque from Gionta and Plekanec
Goal 2 – Brendan Gallagher from Galchenyuk and Bouillon
Gallagher and Galchenyuk skated down the ice on a 2-1, passing to each other. Both are on the edge of the crease, and Gallagher’s attempted pass goes off the defender and into the net. (where are all the other players by the way?)
Goal 4 – Lars Eller from Galchenyuk and Eller
On this goal, Eller picked up the puck around the top of the circles from Galchenyuk, and then proceeded to literally skate right up to Ryan Miller and put it in the net.
Goal 5 – Rene Bourque from Plekanec
Somehow, the Habs AGAIN had the odd man rush, and were AGAIN able to have both players skate right up to the crease. Plekanec to Bourque, back door, goal.
Goal 6 – David Desharnais from Eller and Subban
Power play goal. Eller is in front of the net and catches the rebound from a point shot. Quick pass to Desharnais. Goal.
Now, let’s take a look at where all the shots came from:
Look at all those red dots by the net! There are so many it’s hard to count. (And there’s also that random blue dot, signifying a Sabres shot. It wasn’t against their own goalie, there’s another half to this screen shot I edited out. Though I didn’t realize shots were counted if they were from below the red line).
Now let’s take a look at the shots against the Bruins:
So congratulations to the Bruins for effectively defending against the Habs. Before this game, I thought the Habs were truly a contender. After this game, it’s not that I think the Habs are horrible, but apparently it’s pretty easy to shut them down.
Yes, there were missed opportunities and yes, Plekanec did something on a breakaway I can’t completely understand. But the Habs lost, and the above screenshots demonstrate why.