There was some hope they might get things turned around at least a little bit when they embarked on their current stretch of twelve games, ten of which are against teams that were behind them in the standings. I guess it started out all right when Lars Eller scored that shootout goal in Toronto. But then Columbus took them to the cleaners in back-to-back games. And now it’s Philadelphia who not only convincingly beat the Canadiens but also moved ahead of them in the standings. .The Flyers 4-2 win Monday night not only sent the Canadiens down to twelfth place in the Eastern Conference but also dropped them into 21st in the league standings.
The Canadiens have now officially authored the greatest in season collapse in NHL history and there seems to be no end.
In summing up the state of the Canadiens, Philadelphia broadcaster Bill Clement said, “There are many ways to score goals but I have never seen one scored one through the six hole which is the crest on the front of the jersey.” And that’s where Flyer goaltender Steve Mason took most of the 30 shots he stopped in the game. Seems like it’s that way almost every night. Max Pacioretty may be the only so-called sniper on this goal-challenged team. He had six shots on goal against the Flyers. Only two of them registered high on the save-difficulty chart and one of those came on a shorthanded breakaway.
The Canadiens scored a power play goal which was good. But their penalty killers gave up two which turned out to be the first two goals of the game and that is never a good thing especially when the best this team is able to do is produce two goals on any given night. The Canadiens had a chance to at least get a point out of the game when Radko Gudas put newcomer Lucas Lessio out of the game with a knee injury and received a five minute major and game misconduct. But for some power play bombs from P.K. Subban, the Canadiens didn’t come close and the game ended with an empty net goal. (As an aside, I always wonder if it might be an idea to take the goaltender out and make it a 6-on-4 advantage last in the third period of a one-goal game)..
I thought Dale Weise might have been the Canadiens best forward both offensively and as a physical presence. He had one of the few really good scoring chances in the first period and his third period check on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was text book.
Coming back from a five week stay on the injury list Tom Gilbert didn’t look out of place and he blocked six shots. Subban was his usual dynamic self. Five shots on goal and three giveaways and 30:12 of ice time – 12 minutes of that in the third period.
We’ll have to wait to see how Lucas Lessio is doing. Off the Gudas clip it looked like what might be a serious knee injury.
After the Philadelphia loss www.sportsclubstats.com has reduced the Canadiens chances of making the playoffs to 18.1%. As brutal as that looks, it actually seems rather generous.
Tuesday night it will be the Buffalo Sabres who, bad as they have been the last two seasons, seem to take pleasure making life miserable for the Canadiens. And then it’s Edmonton.
Placing any bets?