Led by Tyler Seguin the Dallas Stars embarrassed the Canadiens 4-1 Saturday night in Dallas. It marked the Canadiens 6th loss in their last seven games. Seguin scored twice as Dallas held a 3-0 leading going into the third period. Cody Eakin and Ryan Garbutt also scored for Dallas. Sven Andrighetto, playing in his first NHL game, scored the Canadiens only goal. The Canadiens were outshot 29-17, including 23-9 through the first two periods.
Adding It Up –
No Investment – The Canadiens showed little interest in competing or were incapable of it; which is worse. They didn’t get their first shot on goal until the 14:37 mark of the first period and that was a shorthanded breakaway by Manny Malhotra who has one scoring point his last 45 games. Not only was Carey Price under constant fire but so was a Canadiens defense that found itself pinned back in it’s end by the lack of support from backchecking forwards.
Out of Excuses – We’ve heard all of them this season. Too many back-to-back games. The compressed schedule. Tough road trips. You name it, it’s been said. As much as Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien like to harp on the subject there seem to be some character issues that have surfaced. Certainly the team has shown no ability to suck it up under adversity in the last two weeks. Tenuous as most of us thought it was, the Habs held first place in the league standings only eight days ago. Now they’re eleventh overall, fifth in the Eastern Conference and have dropped behind Detroit into third in the Atlantic Division with Toronto five behind them with three games in hand.
The Long Rap Sheet – Far too many team no-shows this year. 7-1 vs. Tampa; 3-0 vs. Edmonton. Then, at home the 6-2 loss vs. Calgary, 5-0 Chicago & 4-0 vs. Pittsburgh followed by that 5-0 blowout at Madison Square Garden and this one in Dallas. That takes care of seven of the Canadiens eleven losses. If the Minnesota Wild’s offense wasn’t so inept, Wednesday’s loss could have a blowout as well. And of course there were those two defeats last weekend against Buffalo.
Sucking Wind – The natural result of a team constantly a step behind it’s opponent is a landslide of penalties. The Canadiens took five of the six penalties through the first two periods. With penalty killers constantly on the ice, it eliminated whatever slim chance the Canadiens had of developing some kind of line-by-line rhythm. The first two Dallas goals were scored on their power play and it was pretty much lights out.
Mixed Review – Carey Price played two games in 24 hours for the first time this season. I don’t know what to think about his night. I don’t think he was very good on the first and third goals but, outside of the first five or six minutes of the third period, Dallas had the puck all night and Price was under constant fire. Shots on goal the first 14 ½ minutes of the game were 9-0.
Law of Averages – Through the first 27 games there was only the injury to Michael Bournival. Friday night they lost Lars Eller with what might be a hand, wrist or shoulder injury. In this game it was defenseman Mike Weaver who took an unpenalized first period head shot from Josh Garbutt in his third shift of the game. It had concussion written all over it. Weaver didn’t return.
The Only Good News – Sven Andrighetto didn’t look out of place once he was given a chance to play in the third period. Every one of his shifts in the third period was eventful and he capitalized on a quick burst across the goalmouth to score his first NHL goal on a backhand. (Video of the Goal Below)
Juggling Act – When a team is behaving the way the Canadiens were, line changes are inevitable. Some of the third period moves by Michel Therrien might be worth a further look. I liked what I saw with Alex Galchenyuk centering Pacioretty and Gallagher. The presence of Andrighetto seemed to liven up Plekanec and Sekac. That left the slumping Desharnais with Parenteau and Prust. Desharnais has 0 goals and 5 assists his last 12 games and only two goals for the season..
Off the Scoresheet – You could argue that Sergei Gonchar, at the age of 40, was the Canadiens best player on the road trip. Certainly in this game where five of his eight shots hit the net. P.K Subban‘s only shot in the game was blocked. Tom Gilbert blocked five shots. Brandon Prust with four hits.
Moving On – Travel day on Sunday. Then some soulsearching by both the coaching staff and the players before they play five straight at home starting with Vancouver Tuesday and Los Angeles on Friday.
Andrighetto’s First NHL Goal