Somewhat lost in all the speculation and controversy surrounding Carey Price’s injury (culminating with today’s announcement that he’ll miss the rest of the Eastern Conference Final) has been the fact that the Montreal Canadiens were downright bad in losing Game 1 to the Rangers, by a score of 7-2.
Consider: not only were they beaten by five goals, the Canadiens were outshot, 28-22, on home ice, and actually got increasingly worse throughout the game in terms of puck possession.
From Extra Skater:
Now, full credit to the Rangers for keeping the pedal to the metal (so often teams go into a defensive shell when they get a lead), but this will be a short series if the Habs don’t regain their focus.
“Good thing it’s a seven-game series and we have a chance to get back in it on Monday,” Habs forward Ren Bourque said. “I think we had a little bit of an emotional letdown after the Boston series.
“We talked about that to going into the game. Obviously, it didn’t click.” (Note: We talked about it too, last week in PHT Extra.)
On the bright side, according to Montreal’s Thomas Vanek, “when you lose 7-2 like we did,” it’s “easy” to put the loss in the rear-view mirror and get ready for the next game, which goes tonight at the Bell Centre.
“If you lose a close one, that one stings maybe a bit longer,” said Vanek.
Still no word on who will start in goal for the Canadiens; Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston thinks Dustin Tokarski should get the nod over Peter Budaj, but we’ll have to wait and see what coach Michel Therrien thinks.
Lastly, even without knowing who will replace Price, gamblers have been all over the Rangers, according to online bookmaker Bovada.
“Today’s news of Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender Carey Price being out for at least the entire series against the Rangers has had a profound impact on the odds,” said a spokesperson for the sports book. “In the Rangers game tonight, New York has gone from +110 underdogs to -120 favorites and we are seeing money pouring in on the Rangers regardless. The Rangers also have gone from 9/4 (+225) to 9/5 (+180) to win the Cup.”