At least they weren’t shut out.

Close.  But the Canadiens saved themselves from the indignity of being shutout for the seventh time in their last seventeen games by a goal from Paul Byron with just under eight minutes left and then Shea Weber prevented the Canadiens from being held to one goal or fewer for the tenth time in the last seventeen games when he narrowed the score to 3-2. But there was no repeat of the Edmonton comeback on thise night.


When the Canadiens make mistakes, and Alexei Emelin made a couple of doozies leading up to Chicago’s first two goals, they wind up in their own net. When Canadiens opponents make mistakes, the best that seems to happen is a hail-mary goalmouth scramble seldom resulting in a goal. That’s the way it is with this version of the team.


No question the Canadiens brought their lunch buckets to the Bell Centre Tuesday night. For most of the game they outworked the Hawks. Those mistakes and an inability to answer back led to what is now the sixth loss in the last eight games at home.


I’ve mentioned it before on this site and I’ll say it again; for whatever reason Alexei Emelin is a better defenseman when he plays alongside Shea Weber than he does with Jeff Petry. It probably comes down to the fact that when Emelin commits himself to one of those ill-advised position-vacating moves of his Weber, in his matter-of-fact way, almost always has his back. Petry isn’t Shea Weber.

On Chicago’s first goal, Artem Anisimov beat Emelin once at centre ice and then using the same move, again inside the blueline to score. He was beaten badly on the second goal as well and it was pretty much lights out from there. It was after the third goal that Claude Julien started to juggle his defense. He didn’t bench Emelin however, something that would have happened under another Canadiens coach.


Brendan Gallagher registered another six shots on goal to lead both teams. He now has 30 shots on goal over his last six games, an average of 5 per game. All he has to show for a ton of hard, bruising work in front of the opposition net in those six games is a goal and assist.


Shea Weber made this game close when he scored the goal to narrow the lead to 3-2 with 3 ½ minutes remaining, his 16th of the season. But the shot that will be remembered came during a second period power play when one of his 105 mile per hour specials hit Corey Crawford square on the face mask. In another era Crawford would have been hospitalized. He shook it off and continued.


….Another goal for Paul Byron, his 19th of the season. Over his last four games he has four goals, 2 assists.

….Interesting to note when Julien started to fiddle with his defense pairings he had Jordie Benn playing with Shea Weber for three shifts in the final ten minutes without any drama to speak of. Benn was his defense partner when Weber scored his goal. The newcomer Brandon Davidson moved up to play a few shifts with Markov late in the game as well.


The Canadiens will have the day off Wednesday and then for the first time since he took over the team, Claude Julien will have two consecutive days of practice time. Then it’s the Senators Saturday night in Ottawa and Sunday night at the Bell Centre. Between now and then the Senators will pick up one of the two games in hand they hold over the Canadiens against Chicago Thursday at home. After their overtime loss to Tampa Tuesday night Ottawa is one point behind the Canadiens in the Atlantic Division.