This is one of those games that, like that 10-0 mess in Columbus, you put behind you and move on. There are all kinds of factors that led to a 7-1 final score. The Canadiens are loaded with injuries. There’s also a flu bug floating around their dressing room.
The Minnesota Wild benefited from terrific bounces on five of their seven games. The Canadiens were in their ninth game in the last fifteen days, eight of them on the road. It was also their third back-to-back set of games in the last two weeks. The game became 4-0 and the only thing left was to play the thing out. But alongside all of that there were some things to wonder about.
Carey Price was not beneficiary of a great game from the defense in front of him. But he did let in four goals on the first ten shots he faced in the game. He is 2-3-2 in his last seven starts while giving up 26 goals. In four of his last six starts he’s allowed four or more. We started to second guess Max Pacioretty’s early season play until we found out he played October and November with a cracked foot bone. Opponents have been taking runs at him again this year, and it may have created some physical problems. Price has earned his reputation as the best in the business, but at this point in time there are four or five goaltenders in the league, including the Wild’s Devan Dubnyk who are playing better than he is.
At the end of the second period the score was 5-0. The only thing remaining was garbage time. Why was the Canadiens number one goaltender still in the game, risking possible injury with absolutely nothing to be gained by his presence. I would assume Carey wanted to finish what he started. And Michel Therrien may have remembered that deadly Price stare when he was pulled from that December game in mid-period against San Jose?
NUMBER 14 –
The goal was nothing to celebrate and there will little re-action from Tomas Plekanec when he ruined Dubnyk’s attempt at a shutout with 8.5 seconds left in the game. But, Plekanec is showing signs of coming out of whatever was destroying his season. He now has goals in three consecutive games and 13 points in his last 18 games. It might be the company he’s keeping. His line with Paul Byron and Artturi Lehkonen seemed to be the only one that had any energy. Byron actually led the game in hits with 4.
MOVING ON –
The last time the Canadiens were embarrassed like this was the 10 goal loss in Columbus November 4th. They bounced back with consecutive wins against Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles and Detroit. The Canadiens come home to face another of the NHL’s top teams in the Rangers Saturday night at the Bell Centre. And then it’s another road game in Detroit on Monday.