ICE COLD – Ottawa-3 Canadiens-0 (Dec. 16, 2017)

Dec 17th, 2017 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

This was bad.

On so many levels it was really bad.

The Ottawa Senators, who are having their own competitive issues this season, took apart the Canadiens in embarrassing fashion in the outdoor Heritage game Saturday at Lansdowne Park.

The Senators dominated the Canadiens in every aspect of this game.   They won 75 percent of the board battles; throttled the Canadiens transistion game; dominated the faceoff circle and limited the Canadiens to 13 scoring chances, three of which were considered dangerous chances the first of which didn’t come until the game was almost half over.   Predictably, all of these things considered, the Canadiens go down to a 3-0 defeat, leaving fans to wonder what’s in store in the final six games of their current road trip.

Some would like to write this game off as one of those outdoor game anomalies and they have an argument. But we’re seeing a lot of this sort of thing this season which makes this performance part of a pattern, not an exception.

And now the questions begin to swirl about Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin who is a year beyond what is generally considered the bench-mark five year re-building period.

There is no question that what we are seeing now is Bergevin’s team. Only Carey Price, Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty are holdovers from previous administrations.  the other 20 players on this roster were brought in on Bergevin’s watch.  . In his six seasons  in Montreal Bergevin has built a team that is terribly weak down the middle, has questionable depth on defense.  Their offense is 25th ranked; and their goal differential is minus-16 which leads any clear thinking individual to conclude that the Canadiens have a better chance of finishing in the bottom third of the standings than in a playoff position.

STAR TURN

The Canadiens and Senators are similar in structure. Each team has a superstar surrounded by a gaggle of middle-of-the-road skaters. And each of the “stars” has had, for various reasons, his problems this season. Each was outstanding in this game.

Carey Price was the game’s second star. This was Price’s ninth quality start of his ten consecutive games since his return from injury. He stopped 35 of 37 shots.  Notably, he stopped Mike Hoffman twice in a goalmouth scramble that left him lying flat on his back early in the second period and later on, he somehow got the handle of his stick as Matt Duchene was trying to finish off a two on one with Bobby Ryan.

At the other end it was Erik Karlsson who logged a spectacular 32:55. Seven of his thirteen shot attempts were on goal and he blocked eight shots. He set up the winning goal and was on the ice for all three Ottawa goals.

THE CAPTAIN

I have no idea where Max Pacioretty’s head is these days. He’s a goal scorer who isn’t scoring goals. And when the puck isn’t going in the net Pacioretty is reduced to the role of a checker and penalty killer. Pacioretty had a chance to get the Canadiens back in the game midway through the third period but was late getting to a puck that was sitting next to an open net. It was the first time his play was noticable. He wasn’t the only absentee in this game. You can include almost every one of the twelve forwards.

Pacioretty gets picked upon because so much more is expected of him than one goal in his last 15 games. At his current rate Pacioretty would finish the season with 20 goals and 44 points.

THE BLUELINE

There was some good and bad on the Canadiens defense.

Jeff Petry has been the Canadiens best defenseman the last ten games or so. And his play has made his partner Karl Alzner better.

Shea Weber is still limited by his injury. That increased Jordie Benn’s responsiblities and I thought he had a good night.

The David Schlemko/Jakub Jerabek pairing had it’s problems, especially Schlemko who failed to control a faceoff win by Phillip Danault in the Canadiens end which led three seconds later to Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s game winning goal.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….The second Ottawa goal came off a Jonathan Drouin brain cramp. Bobby Ryan stripped the puck from him as he was trying to stickhandle his way out of the Canadiens end with no defense backing him up.

…..The Canadiens won only 29 percent of their faceoffs. Tomas Plekanec won only 5 of 19 (26%)

…..Pacioretty led the Canadiens with four shots, only one of them had any chance of going in the net.

….Once again Nicolas Deslauriers led the team with 5 hits which gives him 33 the last five games. His line (with Froese and Daniel Carr) has cooled off but Julien clearly likes what he’s seeing from them.  The line averaged over twelve minutes in the game..

MOVING ON

The seven game road trip continues next week with that horror show known as the annual Western Canada swing.

It starts Tuesday in Vancouver where the Canadiens have lost 12 of the last 14. They have lost 22 of 30 in Calgary and in the last 17 seasons Edmonton has a 16-6-3 at home vs. the Canadiens.

2 Comments to “ICE COLD – Ottawa-3 Canadiens-0 (Dec. 16, 2017)”

  1. Ned Stark says:

    Wow!! Dumpster Fire – Trainwreck Alert!!!

    Wow the Team looked pretty loose skating around with their cool looking toques on. Then they went to the dressing room and emerged as The Walking Dead. It was so bad out their that they gave Niemmi the 3rd Star.

    People keep going on that Bergevin should be worried about his job or he’s going to be fired soon. It’s just not happening as long as wannabe Team President Geoff Molson is in charge. With no over sight on Bergevin he has stripped this team down to scrap. Yes there are some good players on this team but there is zero direction bring given. When you continue to fall on your face again and again just trying to cross their blueline but you fail again and again. That’s not just on the PowerPlay. We can’t do it 5on5 either. No wonder we can’t score goals. I’m not sure what game Julien is watching out there but restricting the ice time of your hardest workers – Hudon & Gally11 is ridiculous! Then you let Max67/Casper to continue to coast out there with top TOI proves you are insane and definitely out of touch with what’s happening out there.

    Well only 6 more games on the road for the year to mercifully end. Only questions are 1) is Price ever coming out of the net? 2) how many stinkers can this team lay on the remainder of the trip.

    Lastly, I did like the Team’s uniforms.

  2. david deVries says:

    After the National Anthem it was all down hill for Les Canadien.
    No offensive pressure from the top lines. One shot and the puck is cleared out of the offensive zone.
    Only the 4th line showed a minimal amount to extended time in the offensive zone. Somehow the
    top offensive lines are not jelling. Outlet passes from the defense men were off target all night.
    Only one forward throwing any meaningful body checks.
    Bargain basement Bergevin has complied a team that can not compete on a regular basis.
    It is hard to watch. The super stars are no shows most of the time. Better acquisitions should have
    been made over the summer. One player who has not developed as a center of dependable forward
    should have been traded in the summer.
    You can not win with a super hero goalie. The score is still 0-0 if he throws a shut out and his own
    team can not score. Last night Price could have had a shut out and it only would have meant a tie
    in regulation.
    I liked Ottawa’s uniforms. The Canadiens uniform looked plain and simply ordinary- it had no
    historical significance to the hundredth anniversary. The crest should have been in the style of
    the earth years with the CH open at the end and not closed like the current logo.
    The game for the Canadiens was an embarrassment all the way around.
    Drouin finished off the game with a stamp of futility.

    david deVries

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