It’s been just under four years and nine games since the Canadiens beat the Devils at the Bell Centre. On March 11, 2008 Carey Price was first star ina 4-0 shutout win over New Jersey. Since then the Canadiens have lost eight straight home games against them. Many of those losses looked like Sunday night’s 3-1 defeat.
Adding It Up –
…..No Legs – After a reasonably successful 5-1-1 stretch that put the Canadiens at least on the fringes of the playoff picture, the team came up flat against a team that is one of the best in the league at playing with the lead. The Devils took a 1-0 lead late in the first period and then barred the door. Through the first half of the game the Canadiens were outshot 17-6. In the first period the Canadiens took their third shot on goal at 1:44 and didn’t get another until the final minute; 17:39 between shots.
…..Carey’s Night – The first Devils goal came off a faceoff – Adam Henrique winning it cleanly from Plekanec and Kovalchuk’s shot was deflected by Parise who found himself alone behind Subban. No chance. Late in the second period, David Clarkson’s shot changed direction of Chris Campoli’s pants and wound up in the another. Another screen shot by Taormina made it 3-0.
….Holding Down the Fort – It is ritual to give the first star of the game to Martin Brodeur. In this game he wasn’t overly worked thanks to the work in front of him. Playing with the lead the Devils clogged up centre ice with their trapping and inside their zone their defense blocked 33 shots.
….No Quarter Asked – In the words of Randy Cunneyworth, Erik Cole is “pretty banged up”. At one point in the third period he threw his arms up and headed for the dressing room. There’s an issue with his ribs and that wrist injury he suffered in the game against Detroit January 25th, both the result of collisions with goalposts. Still Cole played 20 minutes and 25 shifts and was on the ice for the Canadiens only goal.
…..Bright Spot – The Canadiens power play was 1-for-3. The Canadiens have now converted seven of their last 24 power play opportunities over the last eight games; 29.1%.
…..The Lone Goal – Max Pacioretty scored only his third power play goal of the season. He has 22 even strength. Pacioretty took ten shots in the game; only three reached the net. Five were blocked. He has 13 goals in his last 17 games.
….Also Worth Noting – In a night when the Canadiens, as a group, looked mentally weary, Mathieu Darche appeared to be the Canadiens best forward. And that was on a night when he was minus-3, which might tell you what kind of night his teammates had. ….His centre Tomas Plekanec had his moments but was inconsistant. ……On the other wing Rene Bourque was not very evident. ….Much the same for the Eller line. ….Ryan White hit a lot of people (7) but, as you might expect, accomplished little offensively. ….On defence, P.K. Subban look indecisive for much of the night, but he wasn’t the only one. ….This is one to file away and forget. No momentum, no effective forecheck. Everything that went well during their 5-1-1 streak disappeared along with the chance to close to within 4 points of eighth place Toronto.
…..Next Up – Dallas Tuesday night at the Bell Centre then seven of the next nine on the road starting in Washington Friday night.
…..The Trap –