1-cbj-montoyaIt’s not that the Canadiens haven’t been involved in some lopsided losses over the years. Some of the most memorable in recent years include the Patrick Roy game in 1995 against Detroit at the Forum against Detroit.  Patrick never played for the Canadiens again.  There was a 10-5 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in 1992 (that game gave the Canadiens starting goaltender the nickname “Red Light” Racicot). There was also the 9-2 loss to Boston early in the 1998-99 season.

But ten straight goals?  We have to go back 75 years for the last time a Canadiens team suffered the kind of beatdown the likes of the one handed them by Columbus Friday night.  On  January 4th 1942 at the Olympia in Detroit,  the Red Wings beat the Canadiens 10-0. The Rocket was still playing senior hockey at the time and the team was only starting to build to it’s later success.   This version of the Canadiens is thought to be close to championship calibre.  Maybe in the dressing room they’re starting to think that you don’t have to work to be a winner.

 

Anyone who has been paying attention could see this coming. The Canadiens were sluggish against Toronto last Saturday when Carey Price had to make 37 saves for the 2-1 win over Toronto and they  sleep-walked their way through the Vancouver game forcing Carey to make 42 saves for the shutout.

Time after time following that mess against Vancouver Wednesday we heard from the Canadiens dressing room that the Canadiens performance was a “wakeup call”

1-cbj-goalWell the wakeup call arrived; albeit late.   There is nothing that will get your attention more than a bunch of kids handing you a 10-0 beatdown.   It’s not only Montreal but the whole hockey world that is sitting up, doing a double take on that score and letting out a collective  “WTF?”

How the Canadiens respond will tell us a lot about this version of the team.

Two years ago the Canadiens got off to a great start and then in early November Calgary and Chicago came in to the Bell Centre and buried them.  The Canadiens gave up 11 goals in those two games. The Canadiens followed those losses with wins in 8 of their next nine games.

Last year the Canadiens were 9-0-0 going out to Vancouver and then Edmonton. They lost both games giving up nine goals. Despite Carey Price going down for eight games with his first injury the team bounced back to go 8-2-2 the next twelve games.

So do we declare the Canadiens a disaster after their best 10 game start in history? For those who think statistics win games, maybe so.

The Canadiens penalty killing stats really took a beating. They gave up as many power play goals in this game (4) as they gave up through the entire first ten games of the schedule. The team goals against average led the league going into the game. They won’t any more.

But whether it’s 1-0 or 10-0, it is only one in the loss column. The Canadiens are now 9-1-1 to start their season.  How they respond to the Coumbus humiliation when they face the Flyers Saturday night at the Bell Centre will be the real story of the weekend.

1-cbj-galchenyukWORTH MENTIONING

….It’s becoming almost automatic reflex write after every game that the best line on the ice for the Canadiens was the fourth line, and maybe that should be worrying folks in the coaching office. The Blue Jackets scored six even strength goals in this game; Torrey Mitchell, Phillip Danault and Brian Flynn were not on the ice for any of them. Mitchell also was 70% in the faceoff circle, winning 7 of 10.

….The only others that I thought competed in this game were Shea Weber who also was not on the ice for an even strength goal and Alexander Radulov, Radulov seemed to be working hard while whoever was playing on his line at the time where playing in a different time zone.

….You have to be a sadist not to have felt sorry for Al Montoya. Normally a goaltender enduring the lack of effort and protection he was getting from his teammates would have been mercifully pulled after the second period but the Canadiens coaching staff is determined to ensure Carey Price has his days off. Montoya toughed it out. Worked hard right to the end when most of his colleagues had packed it in early.  His statistics took a beating but not his reputation as a competitor.

READ IT AND WEEP

….Off the scoresheet – Jeff Petry and Andrei Markov were minus-4. Can’t remember when Markov received less than 18 minutes in ice time (17:49). Pacioretty & Gallagher along with Desharnais minus-3. Pacioretty led the Canadiens with 5 shots, but I can remember only one as a true scoring chance.

AHEAD –

….No coach will accept what was seen tonight. Expect a shakeup for Saturday night’s game against the Flyers. The Canadiens called up left wing Daniel Carr and defenseman Joel Hanley from St. John’s on Thursday. Carr definitely will be in the lineup. So might Hanley. Who from Friday night’s bad lot Michel Therrien considers benching is anybody’s guess.  Off what we’ve seen the last three games there can be five or six prime candidates.