Over the last three weeks we kept hearing from the Canadiens coaching staff that the team was in the “process” of getting back on the right track. Whatever that process is, and for whatever reason, we can say the “process” is not working.
Not even close.
We are all well-aware of the personnel issues on this team. They have a big hole at centre ice and at the bottom end of their defense and don’t forget the horrendous slumps being endured by Pacioretty, Plekanec and Gallagher who make up half of their top six forwards.
With all of that dancing in their collective heads, the Canadiens looked beaten before they started in San Jose Friday night. On the road getting the first goal is imperative. The Canadiens came out flat yet again and under the Sharks forecheck Mark Barberio took a holding penalty. On the power play it was Brent Burns for the game opener and it was all uphill from there.
A brutal giveaway by Galchenyuk led to a two-man breakaway and Pavelski made it 2-0 in the final minute of the first period and that was all there was to say about this one despite the futile effort to come back.
Alex Galchenyuk was a five year old living in Asiago Italy where his father was playing in the Italian League the last time the Canadiens won in San Jose. Only two members of the Canadiens can even remember half of those ten straight losses. It’s only a number but the way they started the game it appeared to be playing on Canadiens minds. By the time they shed the jitters it was game over.
CLOSER THAN IT WAS
Once again Carey Price made a lopsided game look respectable but only on the scoresheet. With a 2-0 lead all the Sharks had to do was sit back and wait for their chances and they got more than a few in the second and third periods. Price took care of them all. As bad as the team has been playing, the team’s goals against per game remains near the top of the league. But the cruel reality is, losing games 2-1 is the way the Canadiens are trending right now.
….After missing eleven games, Brian Flynn came back to the lineup and the fourth line, which had been very good up until the Flynn injury, seemed to get it’s mojo back. They were by far the Canadiens best at both ends of the ice.
….I like what Paul Byron brings to the team but in the long term he is not a top-six forward. In the second period Byron was demoted and Max Pacioretty moved up with Galchenyuk and Radulov. Anything to get Pacioretty going. On the night, Radulov was the best of that group.
….Radulov took a nasty cut over the eye with just over five minutes remaining and on the 4 minute power play, Lehkonen scored the Canadiens only goal with 1:17 remaining.
….Andrew Shaw was also very noticable. Brendan Gallagher keeps trying but just can’t seem to make his shots count.
….Off the scoresheet…Gallagher led the Canadiens with five shots on goal. Weber led with nine shot attempts – 3 on goal. Radulov, who had the puck a lot in the game, was charged with 4 giveaways. Canadiens won only 40 % of their faceoffs.
….The Canadiens now are 1-2-0 on their five game road trip. They head back to Southern California to play the Kings in LA in a game that will start at 3.00 Eastern time. Then on to St. Louis for Tuesday night..