The picture may be the only entertaining element to this game recap tonight. The Jackets fell to the Canadiens 5 to 3 on a combined effort of poor defense and a forgotten gameplan.
For the last two weeks, our play has really had me thinking. We have basically the same lineup as last year where we lived by the moniker "tough to play against." If anything moves like Pahlsson over Malhotra should have made us tougher to play against. It is not as if we have an influx of soft skill players, I'm not sure why we have been so bad from the red line back. We have been up more goals, more breakaway and than I can recall us ever having. There literally used to be games (last year) where you'd wonder if the other team could score two goals against us. Everything was that cohesive.
This should be fixed. I'm concerned that we have seen little improvement in these regards because this has been the story of the team since opening night. At least we won't be complacent.
Our first period was good. Our first periods have been pretty good this year, but what followed was not pretty.
Antoine Vermette played a solid, but yet uneven game. He potted two goals, which sure makes me excited about this center ice position we have discovered, but there were still defensive lapses. It was the best game out of the top line in a few games, so I guess that is a positive.
The second line has struggled to create consistent offense for us this year and I'm not sure what happened to the third line. For the first 3 weeks of the year the Samuel Pahlsson line was constantly creating offense and cycling. Dominating their shifts. Now they aren't drawing the opponents best players AND they are getting scored on.
There is just a weird feeling to this team... Our on the fly defensive changes seem more unorganized than years past. After the first period we abandon the game plan and stop hitting. Our goaltending is not great right now, but it is hard to judge since our team defense has been so bad. We give up so many odd man rushes. I can't comprehend it.
Mancrush of the Game: Anton Stralman, he again proves his worth on the powerplay after potting another. That right handed shot has done wonders for us. He is nice and calm with the puck, but he seems to get beat wide regularly.
Whipping Boy of the Game: Samuel Pahlsson. What are you for? That might seem harsh, but he is an NHL vet, who signed a big contract to shutdown the best players on the other team. That is obviously not happening. The third line hasn't had a goal in easily 10 games. This guy has to figure it out. Derek MacKenzie has done the same thing and makes a fraction of the dough.
Back to back disasters. What do you think the issue is with our tissue soft defense? Fire Away!