1 pengu price lets inMichel Therrien had it right in his very brief post game news conference when he said, “If you want to beat the defending Stanley Cup champions you have to compete. We didn’t compete tonight.”

He might have added, if you want to win against any NHL team you have to shoot the puck. For the second consecutive game the Canadiens failed to generate consistent offense. They were limited eighteen shots in Detroit on Monday afternoon and the best they could come up with against the Penguins was twenty. The logical end result of that is one goal in two games.

SECOND GUESSING?

Considering the success that Phillip Danault was having with Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov, I wondered if it might have been a better idea to ease Alex Galchenyuk back into the lineup in some kind of second or third line role. Galchenyuk has been back three games now and his linemates have gone straight backwards. Pacioretty, the league’s hottest goalscorer through December and early January has produced eight shots on goal in the last three games, all but one or two of the dangerous variety and none against Matt Murray in the Pittsburgh nets. Therrien juggled things a bit in the third period but never put Danault back between Pacioretty and Radulov. In the end Pacioretty was minus-2 in the game; Galchenyuk and Radulov minus-2.

1 pens pricePART OF THE PROBLEM

There has been nothing miraculous about the way Carey Price is playing right now.  So-so it a better description.  He allowed the one goal against Detroit which was nice even in a losing cause, but the Red Wings aren’t going to make the playoffs. Once again a strong opponent rang up four goals against him and that’s the fifth time in the last nine starts he’s given up four or more. Some goals you can forgive.  He’s giving up too many of the easy variety these days.

THE BLUELINE

Let’s not forget about the defense which, for the most part equaled the terrible night the forwards were having. I have no idea what has happened to Nathan Beaulieu. Only a few games back he was playing with Jeff Petry and playing well. The last three games he’s had a brutal time of it, to the point where nobody would be surprised to see him in the press box this weekend. Only problem with that scenario is the fact that Petry has fallen into hard times along with Barberio. I’ve liked Redmond’s play the last two games, but it’s hard to judge his overall effectiveness when all around him are struggling.

1 peng crosby pacWORTH MENTIONING

….Exclude the Canadiens top pairing of Shea Weber and Alexei Emelin from the criticism. They had terrific nights against the Penguins. Emelin started the play that led to the Canadiens only goal by pinching in from the blue line and he, along with Weber, were very strong in their own end.

….Up front, we might point to Tomas Plekanec again. Plekanec is now playing between the two rookies, Sven Andrighetto and Artturi Lehkonen. That line had some life to it. It was also the only line that Therrien didn’t tinker with in the third period of a losing hockey game.  Not only did the line play well offensively, they also checked Sidney Crosby’s line and Crosby failed to get a point.

FACING FACTS

The Canadiens still own a commanding lead in the Atlantic Division but anyone paying attention can see the team’s major flaws, especially when they have to play against the likes of the Penguins or, Washington, Columbus and Minnesota. With the exception of the Rangers, who’s goaltending and defense issues are beginning to surface, the good teams are beating the Canadiens far too easily.

MOVING ON

If ever the Canadiens needed a break from the schedule maker it’s now. After grinding it out, mostly on the road, against some of the league’s top teams the Canadiens will play a string of games against teams that are probably not going to make this year’s playoffs. They’re at New Jersey Friday night which will be the 11th of their last 14 of the road. Saturday they’re home to face Buffalo followed by games against Calgary, the Islanders and Buffalo again. There are no gimme’s in this league. If they want to come out on the winning end of the next five games they’re going to have to be better than what we’ve seen in the two games this week.