The Maple Leafs and the Canadiens gave us a good taste of what a first playoff showdown in over 40 years between the two big rivals could look like: close games where the slightest slack could be expensive.
Because, despite the 17 points that separate them in the classification of the North division, the two teams have fought a hot fight.
“We are close to them,” said Dominique Ducharme, at the end of this short defeat of 3 to 2.
“We were one goal away from matching the mark. We had our chances in the second period. We weren’t active enough in the first half. We were too many spectators, said the head coach of the Canadiens. To win against the Leafs, you have to be consistent. Tonight [mercredi], we were too inconstant. ”
See Dominique Ducharme’s press briefing in the video above.
Yes, the Canadian has proven that he can hold his own against the Maple Leafs. But he probably also understood that they shouldn’t be allowed to breathe.
Curiously, the Habs, who have limited Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to two points each since the start of the season, saw Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman collect the same number in the only meeting on Wednesday.
“The games are coming quickly. I think we were able to put more pressure on the Oilers defensemen. In general, that allowed us to be better positioned on McDavid and Draisaitl, analyzed Ducharme. In the second half, when we moved well and put pressure on their defenders, we saw less of these guys. “
An absent near the net
In the second period, the Habs were indeed everywhere on the ice. His 17 shots on Jack Campbell were a perfect response to the 13 that Jake Allen received in the first twenty.
“We could have taken the lead then. It would have been a different game. It is certain that to score this kind of goals, you have to come forward with anger. In a close match like this, that can make all the difference. ”
By “this kind of goals”, Ducharme identified goals that are scored near the net. Those which are the specialty of Brendan Gallagher, who will be absent for the next six weeks, and Corey Perry. This is how the 35-year-old veteran scored his two goals.
Kotkaniemi se débrouille
Jesperi Kotkaniemi had the mission to replace Gallagher to the right of Tomas Tatar and Phillip Danault. The tall Finn did his job well.
Particularly in the second period, during which he got involved both in the offensive zone and in his territory. He blocked shots and ignored pressure from opposing defenders to make his outings well.
“He had a pretty solid game. In general, it was very positive, assured Ducharme. He must continue to grow in it. It’s another experience for him. ”
Corey Perry press briefing
Jake Allen press briefing
Press briefing by Jonathan Drouin
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