It’s been a recuring theme in this disaster of a season, the Canadiens  inability to take underdog opposition seriously.  The Canadiens laid an egg against the worst team in the Eastern Conference at the worst possible time.  The loss leaves the team in eleventh place and wasted a precious game in hand.

Adding It Up –

…..Left It In The Room  In the first twenty seconds of the game, Rene Bourque raced in on the Carolina goal.  Cam Ward stopped his shot and the rebound.  And that’s where the competition ended.  Time and again puck battles were lost and the Canadiens were outshot 16-8 in the period.  Midway through the second period Jaroslav Spacek scored on a power play to make it 2-0.   At that point the 28th ranked team in the league was outshooting the Canadiens 23-8.

……Momentum Shift – There is a reason why the Hurricanes are where they are in the standings and the Canadiens exposed it over a six minute period following the Spacek goal.  Tomas Plekanec scored on a 2-on-1 with Rene Bourque; and then back to back power play goals from Erik Cole and David Desharnais and the Canadiens had a 3-2 lead.

…..Handing It Back – The Canadiens couldn’t maintain concentration.  In the third period with the Canadiens on a power play, Eric Staal ducked around Tomas Kaberle and squeezed the puck past Carey Price to tie the game and Jamie McBain on a power play.  Add the empty net goal and it was a most damaging 5-3 loss.

…..Mixed Message – The Desharnais was the Canadiens main offensive weapon on the ice for the second and third goals.  Desharnais had a goal and assist and wound up the night minus-2.  Cole was minus-2 and Pacioretty minus-1.

…..Healthy Again – For five games it appeared that something had been lost from Erik Cole’s shot.  Perhaps bothered by a wrist injury in the game against Detroit just before the All-Star break.  If the wrist was a problem, it isn’t any more.  His goal, which gave the Canadiens there 3-2 lead was a bullet-like wrist shot over Cam Ward’s blocker.  Cole had five shots and five scoring chances in the game.

……In the Doghouse – Andrei Kostitsyn very early in the game was nailed to the bench.  He got two shifts in the first period, three in the second and one in the third.  He wasn’t the only one.  Randy Cunneyworth wasn’t in love with what he saw from Scott Gomez either.  Gomez was on the ice just nine times.

……Also of Note…..Tomas Plekanec continued to play well.  He took eight shots in the game, five of them on-goal and won 57% of his faceoffs (13/10).  ….P.K. Subban’s game wasn’t up to what we have seen lately, despite four shots on goal and a first assist on the Desharnais goal. Like that of many of his teammates, his game seemed slightly out of synch.    …….The same might be said of Carey Price’s night.  Good, just not as great as we saw the previous four games.  The shorthanded goal should have been stopped.   ……The Kid Line of Eller, Leblanc and Palushaj logged the third most even strength ice time at 9:23, only two minutes behind the Desharnais and Plekanec lines.  Eller had two shots and Palushaj three and they did no damage on defence.  …..Hamilton Bulldogs callups Ryan White and Ian Schultz did not play, the Canadiens avoiding putting them in their fourth game in four days.  It’s safe to say their hardnosed approach to the game will be front and centre Wednesday against Boston.

Ahead – The Bruins at the Bell Centre on Wednesday; at Buffalo Friday and home to New Jersey on Sunday.  They’ll need to start another winning streak.