flyers jan 8The Philadelphia Flyers ran up a 3-0 lead before the Canadiens had any answers and went on to a 3-1 Thursday night in Philadelphia.   Sean Couturier, Zac Renaldo and Michael Raffl staked the Flyers to their lead before Tomas Plekanec scored a goal shorthanded late in the second period.  It was the Flyers seventh straight home victory over the Canadiens.  Shots on goal were 27-20 in favour of Philadelphia.

Adding It Up –

Dreadful– Only one of many negative adjectives to describe the Canadiens brutal effort in this game.  There wasn’t an area of the game that didn’t break down, mostly because of a startling lack of effort.  Signs of the disintegration of the Michel Therrien system started to manifest itself in the thrashing handed them on December 10th by Los Angeles.  This game was the low point.

On His Own – Every member of the Canadiens knows that Peter Budaj is going to give up rebounds.   Through early part of the season, his defense was there to clear them away.  All three Flyers goals came off rebounds with nary a member of the Canadiens available to clear the puck.

Benched – After taking a bad roughing penalty at the end of the second period, Therrien benched P.K. Subban for the first 16 minutes of the third period.  Subban had an awful game, and I supposed you can’t bench the whole lot of them.

Slipping and Sliding – Just before Christmas the Canadiens power play ranked as high as third in the league.  In three weeks they’ve dropped to ninth.  Against the Flyers 0-for-4 and on three of the advantages the Flyers had answered their inept attempts at entering their zone with a steady stream of icings.

The Bright Spot – Only two members of the Canadiens appeared have their mind on the game,  Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec.  I’d throw Brian Gionta in there as well but his offensive effectiveness seems to have disappeared, even if the effort remains.  It was Gionta who stripped the puck at centre ice while killing a penalty and set up Plekanec for the only goal.

Big Issues  – What does it take to get some emotion back on this hockey club?  Brandon Prust took on Flyers tough guy Zac Rinaldo with some success, and then Plekanec scored the shorthand goal and still nothing from the Canadiens bench.  The Canadiens didn’t produce a shot on the Flyers net from the Plekanec goal at 17:37 of the second period until Pacioretty’s shot at 10:43 of the third, a span of 13:06.  Until the final seconds of the period the shots on goal were 4-2 for the Flyers.

Worth Mentioning – ……The Canadiens penalty killers had another perfect night although they had a scary time of it on one of them as the Canadiens unit was pinned back in it’s own end for the entire two minutes.  ….One of the more prominent no-shows was Max Pacioretty, who like most of his teammates never got his feet moving. …..There is something fundamentally wrong with the Canadiens right now.  Better minds than mine will have to try to figure out how get not only the system, but the emotional part of their game back on the rails.  There are some tough games ahead, starting Saturday night.

Moving On – The Chicago Blackhawks play at the Bell Centre Saturday night, then New Jersey at home Tuesday and two on the road in Detroit and Toronto on Saturday.  Not a time to be asleep at the switch.