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Title - Mitch Melnick
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Follow Me on TwitterMitch Melnick is the host of Melnick in the Afternoon on the Team 990 - Montreal's Sports Authority. Mitch also has his own website at MitchMelnick.com where you can find his blog, music links, upcoming events, neat photos and more. Listen Live to Melnick - weekdays from 3:00 - 7:00 pm. If you have questions or wish to contact Mitch, you can email him at mitch.melnick@team990.com
The Good, Bad and Ugly - Montreal plays it safe against Philly
Mitch Melnick
TSN 990 and MitchMelnick.com

Mitch Melnick Blog
The Good, Bad and Ugly - Montreal plays it safe against Philly
No Chris Pronger, no Jaromir Jagr and a back up goaltender who isn't very good. Philadelphia came out skittish but once again Montreal seemed content to play it safe. After all, it is Jacques Martin's mantra.
PHOTO CREDIT - Canadiens.com

Montreal - Nov. 25, 2011 - That was awful. Let's get this over with in a hurry.

THE GOOD
- The Habs PK unit. Perfect again including a 5 on 3. Now at 90.3% for the season. What a battle at the Bell Centre Saturday night. Two teams tied for 2nd in the NHL in PK percentage. Who's your pick to crack first? *
- Carey Price. Really thought he was in the process of picking up a shutout until Claude Giroux reminded Canadiens fans that instead of looking in their own back yard the scouting department fell in love with a "Mr. Minnesota" high school kid who is currently in his second season playing for the Florida Everglades of the East Coast Hockey league.
- Alexei Emelin. The fact that he's been noticed for all the right reasons in recent games against arch rival Boston and Philadelphia counts for a lot. Another 6 hits. Has no doubt now become part of Montreal opposition pre - scouting reports: "Keep your head up when 74 is on the ice".
- Petteri Nokelainen scoring his first goal as a Hab. There should have been a lot more on Sergei Bobrovsky.

THE BAD
- The second period, maybe the worst of the season for Montreal. First period wasn't so spit hot either considering the Flyers were ready to be taken on home ice. No Chris Pronger, no Jaromir Jagr and a back up goaltender who isn't very good. Philadelphia came out skittish but once again Montreal seemed content to play it safe. After all, it is Jacques Martin's mantra. Limit mistakes and pounce on the power play. I understand a defensive minded coach not wanting his players to take chances but to not give offensive players the opportunity to be creative and take a chance or two means you're scuttling their game. There is a time and a place to "take chances". The first period in Philadelphia was another one of those times and the Habs passed it up. Boston, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, NYR even the Leafs might have been able to open up a two or three goal lead in the first. Difference between "safety first" and a "killer instinct".
- The slashing penalty Thomas Plekanic took four seconds into the second period. I understand it's an automatic but I hate the rule. Bring back old fashioned puck battles without sending guys to the penalty box.
- Flyers owned everybody except Plekanic (64%) in the face off circle (59% - 41%).
- Frederic St. Denis taking two shifts on the wing. WTF? Couldn't send a forward from Hamilton?
- Brian Gionta. Now -5 in his last two games. But the little captain played over 25:00. His coach is killing him.
- To be fair, not many players looked good over the final 40 minutes but Yannick Weber was jittery every time he handled the puck, especially on the power play.

THE UGLY
- Montreal power play. Nothing is working yet the same guys are being thrown out there in the same roles. If PK Subban is not being hampered by a sore shoulder he must be part of the first power play unit. I give Martin credit for finally putting a forward on the point but it's clear Plekanic should move down low. Maybe swap with Cammalleri who has plenty of experience playing the point and is either not getting the puck or not finding the open space to get the puck to fire one of his typical blasts from the right side. If Montreal opponents are taking Cammalleri as a weapon away, then give him more room and put him on the point. Plekanic down low is better with the puck than anybody on the team. And, unlike training camp, spend more time in practice working on it.

* Whos PK unit cracks first? Montreal power play is at 13%, 5th worst in NHL. Pittsburgh power play is at 19%, 9th best in NHL but that's been without Sidney Crosby for all but two games.


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