Montreal 0 Boston 7 (TD Garden)
MONTREAL, QC.– For all of the build-up, this game was over quick. It took precisely 61 seconds for the Bruins to torpedo Montreal’s game plan. It was a huge boost for a Boston team who hadn’t been playing well at home, and who struggle when trailing.
The Canadiens skaters watched as a relentless Boston attack unleashed 18 first period shots on Carey Price. Rather than seizing the opportunity provided by some sensational goaltending, Montreal remained lifeless. It was the third game in a week — against the Rangers, Sabres, and Bruins — where Montreal abandoned Price, scoring just a single goal in support of their MVP netminder.
That’s one goal total in Price’s last three starts.
The few chances that the Habs generated against the Bruins came from the line of Scott Gomez, Brian Gionta and Travis Moen. But 45 minutes into the game with the score 5-0, the Canadiens best player was Price, far and away. That fact alone is rather telling of the contributions of the rest of the team.
Montreal also proved to be an effective cure for the Bruins who had been struggling at home and gave up a goal to their sputtering power-play. It’s hard to even contemplate giving up a short-handed goal with a 5-on-3 man advantage, but the Habs did that too. And just for good measure, an old nemesis, Tomas Kaberle, was presented with his first goal as a Bruin in 15 games.
Considering the context, it was one of the worst defeats in the history of the Canadiens.
When asked to comment post-game, former Habs player Chris Nilan was direct saying, “It’s a disgrace to the organization, a disgrace. They absolutely sucked!”
Nilan’s analysis was succinct, “That’s the worst performance I’ve ever seen by a Montreal Canadiens team.”
Nilan also made it clear that he held the Canadiens goaltender blameless saying, “[The Habs] did absolutely nothing. No one tried. Price tried. They left the kid out there hanging all night.”
Issues that have plagued this team all season reared their ugly head again tonight: a lack of discipline, inability to sustain a forecheck, little or no pressure down low, and defensive zone mistakes. Simply said the Canadiens spend far too much time in their own end and bank on stellar goaltending. Is that really a strategy — is it a winning game plan?
The stark reality is that the Habs are only a playoff team because Carey Price has been one of the top three goaltenders in the league this season. That may not sit well with the Martin-apologists but it is far closer to the truth as a reason for the team’s success this season rather than an antiquated system.
When asked whether a lack of emotion played a part in the loss, to no one’s surprise coach Martin said, “I dunno it is a lack of emotion, it’s a lack of execution.”
It is both actually. The Canadiens were tentative, and played a far too polite game. They didn’t use their speed to be first to the puck nor did they draw on their character to win battles.
The players should shoulder a large share of the responsibility for this loss. But so should the coach for his stubborness in refusing to design a game plan that maximizes the talents of his players, his inability to make in-game adjustments, and who lacks the communication skills to motivate his team.
It won’t get any easier Saturday as the Canadiens host the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre.
► In a game that wasn’t as physical as expected, Lars Eller led the Canadiens with five hits.
▼ Tomas Plekanec looked nothing like the Canadiens best forward, as he has been this season. In his first game back from injury, Plekanec had just one shot on goal and was a minus-4.
▼ Plekanec’s linemate Mike Cammalleri was also minus-4.
All Habs game stars
1. Carey Price
2. Brian Gionta
3. Scott Gomez
Yannick Weber, Tom Pyatt and Alexandre Picard were healthy scratches. Max Pacioretty and Jaroslav Spacek were out with injuries. Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges are out for the season with a knee injuries.
A Boston Perspective
Since the Zdeno Chara hit on Max Pacioretty, Canadiens fans have seen some of the worst emerge from the land of black and gold. Today, let me direct you to one of the best.
Read the game story from the perspective of an excellent Boston writer, Doug Watson at the blog Something’s Bruin.
(Photo by Getty)
Category: Game review