This is what happens when a team is operating with key missing components. The Canadiens did enough work in the first two periods to take a 3-0 lead on the Carolina Hurricanes but were incapable of putting the game away and in the third period their frustration got the best of them. Carolina came from behind with three goals in the span of 5:50 and the Canadiens settled for their third loss in a row.
The top four goalscorers for the Canadiens were Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Plekanec. The only member of that quartet playing reasonably well is Galchenyuk. As a result the Canadiens are relying on pluggers or defensemen to win their games for them. No matter how hard everyone is working, that is not the way to a winning NHL record.
Max Pacioretty scored 30 goals last season. He has 3 this season. At that rate he’ll finish the season with 14. Brendan Gallagher’s goalscoring slump has reached 12 games. That’s a career high. He has four which is on pace for a 15 goals season. Gallagher hasn’t scored a goal in 12 games which is a career long slump.. Plekanec has 1 goal – actually he has 3 in his last 44 games and that’s not good.. So, without Alexander Radulov in the lineup, that leaves Alex Galchenyuk as the team’s one-trick pony. Who knows whether Plekanec is capable of being the offensive weapon he once was but I fully expect Pacioretty and Gallagher will get things going eventually. Until then, the Canadiens are going to have nights like they had in Carolina Friday.
THE SUPPORTING CAST
Two of the best forewards were the rookies Daniel Carr and Charles Hudon, who was playing in his first game of the season. We know about Carr. He’s aggressive around the net. Had a lot to do with the goal that gave the Canadiens their 1-0 lead in the second period. He was busy at both ends of the ice and I think he’s going to be valuable to this team for a long time. Hudon is a different matter. He came up from St. John’s this week as the AHL’s leading goalscorer. He also arrives with a reputation as having a lazy approach to the defensive side of the game. Offensively he was very effective. The jury’s still out on his defense.
For the most part, the defense had a good night. Andrei Markov was terrific and was rewarded with a couple of assists. We can only hope the other veterans get their game back together the way Markov has over the last 7 games. Over that stretch he has 2 goals, 8 assists and back to earning his six million dollars a month before his 38th birthday.
ALSO WORTH NOTING
..Nathan Beaulieu did a lot of good things including producing five shots on goal.
….Greg Pateryn his defense parter had an awful night. He failed to clear the puck twice on the same shift which led to a major first period scoring chance for the Hurricanes. It got him benched for the rest of the period. He was also on the ice for the first two Hurricanes goals on consecutive third period shifts.
….I’m not impressed with Chris Terry’s speed but he brought some creativity to a game against his former teammates. Three shots on goal and three hits isn’t bad either.
The Canadiens play the second half of their back-to-back set against Toronto Saturday night. No panic yet, despite three losses in a row. They’re still 13-3-2.