At the end of March, as the Canadian came out of his week of vacation forced by COVID-19, Philip Danault made a bold, if not risky, prediction to conjure the 25-game race in 43 days that had been awaiting his team: see those who break and who keep pushing. ”
Basically, the challenge was individual: to make it possible to separate the “real” from others. Nevertheless, Danault’s prophecy was fulfilled on a collective level. But that was definitely not what he had in mind when he said these words.
After losing 5-2 to Calgary Flames on Saturday, Habs improved their record to 6-9-0 in the first 15 games of 25 consecutive matches. Three of those losses were against Flames, who has apparently found a recipe for making Montreal residents look bad.
Since the beginning of April, it has been practically the whole team that has been “falling apart” little by little. Literally, while injuries pile up: already deprived of Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher, the Canadian had to dispense with Jonathan Drouin, the patient, and Paul Byron, a wounded lower body on Saturday. And now Thomas Tatar also fell into the battle. He only made two short matches in the third period, and we learn later that he messed it up even before the match started. The lower part of the body will also be damaged.
So Dominic Ducharme has to use his imagination to fill in the gaps, even though the toolbox is almost empty – we’ll come back to this later.
It also refracts metaphorically. On Saturday, Habs played their first period at will, with fast and precise players, first on the disc. Nick Suzuki’s goal was dedication: a puck ball sent into the net and a hard work near goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom. As per the manual.
To be honest, in the early twenties, Flames looked a lot like the Canadian in their recent clashes between the two teams where they were very disorganized.
However, on his return from break, the flame became the flame again, and the Canadian, the Canadian. A methodical and ferocious team against another fragile, distracted, and confused.
Geoff Petrie said, “It seems like every time we make a mistake, the goblin ends up in our target.” Lost in the defensive zone: Goal from Milan Lucic. Failed pass from Petrie: second goal by Johnny Godrow. Turning from Jessbury Kotaniemi with a stampede in defense: Goal from Brett Ritchie. The number 26 added, “We have to find our instincts.”
The Canadian Ducharme insisted that he “did not give up”, especially narrowing the gap at the end of the second half. But in the 3–1 match, it was unfortunately apparent to many that the miracle of the comeback would not happen.
And the rest?
With 9 defeats in the last 13 games, the CH coach has often been asked what solutions he has been thinking about.
There was a lot of talk about holding videoconferencing, avoiding mistakes, and explaining implementation.
Where we can see the growing frustration with Ducharme’s psyche, it is in the face of his inability to change his workforce. The Canadian salary setting, along with the limited number of refunds after the deal deadline – there is only one left with 10 games to play – makes it nearly impossible for him.
That explains why we’ve relied on 7 defenders and 11 forwards for the last two matches – a pattern the coaches don’t care about, with some exceptions. It also explains why the team that has scored only 18 goals in the last 10 matches has not played for Cole Caufield, who is already known as the organization’s best defect even before playing a match in the NHL.
Ducharme realistically agreed, saying, “He is not perfect.” Without Byron or Darwin, “We tried to have 12 forwards,” but the only way immediately possible was to settle for 11 forwards.
With 10 games played this season, the Habs isn’t much excited anymore. Especially with Flames who blow his neck in the standings – they are only four points behind CH, with them trailing a match. And even more so with the Vancouver Canucks, which, although much delayed, has several games to play.
These final ten kicks off Monday against the same flame, for the ninth and final time of the season. The players had already indicated that 5 matches in 13 days between the two teams were approached as a series of three out of five. With three losses on the clock, Al Kindy has already lost this chain.
So what needs to be achieved? Tyler Toffoli said clearly: “We need to win.”
“We have to make sure that we are at our best,” Ducharme added. Get back together, bring back the things we did well, and be persistent. ”
He agreed with “20 men in uniform.”
But which one? Nothing is less clear.
Where would Eric Gustafson occupy in a healthy confinement? Read here: When are six defenders in uniform instead of seven? It’s hard to say. His playing in his region wasn’t particularly inspiring to confidence – seeing him totally flustered after a failed slip up against Dillon Dubey in his second period, it was easy to understand why he had watched 10 of his last 11 matches for the Philadelphia Flyers from situations. However, his hold on disc control as well as his contribution to power play was clearly highlighted by Peloton on Saturday, within a defensive brigade currently struggling to support its attackers. On target Toffoli, he subtly finds Corey Berry who has been dispatched at the mouth of the grid. And on Suzuki, he was the one who sent the disc to the network. Geoff Petrie said, “He’s a guy with good vision with a pinch and a good ability to play, and we’ve seen him so well tonight.”
Painful to Primio
Caiden Primo electrified Bell when he made his National Hockey League debut last season. But his third match in his career, which took place on Saturday, was not celebratory. A great shot from Johnny Godrow – Dominic Ducharme repeated the word “perfect” twice -, the puck making its way through heavy traffic after a losing match, two coups-plus numbers … Despite the score, the young goalkeeper didn’t look bad at all, even He did some great balls. Primo is usually very conservative, and he does not expand on the evening after the meeting. He said, “I was frenzied before the match, and I felt really good … It was a bit loose at first, but it was replaced.” When asked about Godreo’s shot – perfect, remember – he said he “would like to review the four goals” of the flame. We will forgive him for wanting to keep analysis to a strict minimum.
We will not spend the day on the first goal of Flames, but Dominique Ducharme has analyzed the sequence in a complete way so that it deserves our attention. In response to a question about the lack of experience of some of his players, he indicated Alexander Romanov’s adherence to this goal. In support of the attack, the Russian defender did what his coach “wanted” to, namely go down into the opponent’s area to follow the winger – in this case Johnny Godrow. But the latter “leaned” on the Romanov, then took off, leaving no opportunity for his bishop to catch up with him. On the other hand, Ducharme added that John Merrill “would have shut down [l’espace] Hurry up to give it a tougher angle of fire. ”In short,“ defenders could have done a better job on it. ”Romanov is not immune to the rookie’s“ youth mistakes ”inherent in the up-and-coming player. Ducharme warned that“ this will happen. ”
In the first half, I don’t think we lacked a sense of urgency. We put pressure on the defenders, they had a hard time getting out [de leur zone]. […] Overall, I find we have done better [que la veille]And I don’t think they overlook us in the way they play. We made mistakes that were costly.
We must multiply [lundi] What we did in the first half [samedi]. I think we still have room to grow and improve. It doesn’t matter who is in the squad, we have to play hard.
Everyone knew that some teams would fight for a place [en séries éliminatoires]. We have to regroup. It will be a big game on Monday.
They like to go with the pinch inside the Battle Points, and dash into the net, with the big players popping into the screens. Their move game is pretty good too, we’ve seen it with splits and pluses.
Caiden Primo, on Flames’s success against the Canadians
We’re happy, but we’re not yet where we want to be … We still have a long way to go. […] It is still possible for us to secure a place in the qualifiers. If we do our job, I think we have a chance to move forward by the end of the season.
We know these matches against CH will be tight, but I liked the way we handled the 3e During my matches on Friday and Saturday. Monday will be huge. The guys are excited, but we know we’re still four points behind them.
Despite his supportive role and the constant rotation of his three classmates, he has stood out on numerous occasions. He deserves better than the reserve team.
He fell into the opponent’s area at Johnny Godroe’s first goal, then guilty of a rejected clearance that led to Milan Lucic’s goal early in the second. Suppose it is not an easy night.
This is Corrie Berry’s difference in this game. That doesn’t make him guilty of goals conceded by CH – that includes his last goal in the empty net – but it still puts him at -7 in his last 5 matches.
With Richard Lappe, Journalism