Except they didn’t beat the Kings.
They were shut out.
It marked the fifth time in ten games the Canadiens were held to one goal or fewer this season and the second time shut out.
It’s becoming a nightly story. The Canadiens come of the gate flying. Dominate but don’t score. In this game Los Angeles took advantage of a deflected goal late in the opening period with the Canadiens leading on the shot clock 16-6. Eleven seconds later they fail to clear the puck and that also winds up behind Carey Price.
Against the team with the best defensive record in the early season that means lights out.
Explain this if you can.
The Canadiens lead the league in shots on goal per game at nearly 39 per game. In most cases they’ve worked hard to generate the shots but there are only 17 goals to show which adds up to the league low 1.7 per game.
The coach keeps telling us his team has to “stick with it” and wait for the “breaks to go our way.” By the end of the game, the fans at the Bell Centre weren’t buying it and were vocal about it.
SECOND BEST –
For the fifth time this season Carey Price was the second best goaltender on the ice. Jonathan Quick made the big saves. Price didn’t. It wasn’t all his fault. Two of the four goals were deflections but, when he’s playing well, he would have found a way to get in front of at least one of the other two. Fans were on him at the end of the game which was unfortunate considering the other team issues but, like the other eighteen players on the ice, Price has to be better.
MIND GAMES –
Frustrated teams are psychologically damaged. After all of their hard work in the first period the Canadiens gave up a goal with 61 seconds remaining when Paul Byron failed to clear the puck. Eleven seconds later Victor Mete failed to clear and it’s 2-0 on one of those shots Carey Price used to handle easily. That was the fifth time this season the Canadiens had given up two goals in the same minute.
THE CAPTAIN –
Max Pacioretty continues to try to lead at least by example. He was good enough to have a four goal night but came away empty again. Five of his eight shots on goal were glittering scoring chances. A couple of his misses were scoring opportunities as well. Pacioretty was around the net a lot which was a good thing. He shared the team lead in hits with five. A Ultimately, still nothing to show.
In the first period I thought Artturi Lehkonen was the Canadiens best and Jonathan Drouin wasn’t far behind him. With Paul Byron on the line, they combined for five shots on goal and had control of the Kings zone. Those two quick goals seemed to take the wind out of their game in the second and third period.
Beside Pacioretty’s eight shots, Shea Weber and Andrew Shaw had five apiece. Weber was minus-4 as well.
Mike McCarron threw his weight around in the game (5 hits) but he also had some more defensive issues which tells me he’s not long for a roster spot.
Nikita Scherbak was checked into the Kings goalpost in the 13th minutes of the game. There may be a rib problem. He played two shifts the rest of the game; none in the third period.
It’s a low bar but I thought Alex Galchenyuk was more involved.
Next up the New York Rangers who have had as much trouble getting their season started as the Canadiens. The Rangers beat the Arizona Coyotes at home Thursday night. The Rangers now 3-6-2. After that it’s an ill-timed four game road trip starting in Ottawa Monday and finishing in the midwest.