Tuesday night against San Jose, the Canadiens lost their fifth game in a row and dropped a little deeper into the abyss of the NHL’s nether regions.
The team has lost 23 of it’s 40 games this season. Although there have been a variety of reasons for the losses, there is one thread that is constant – the Canadiens can’t score. Their lone goal against the Sharks came on a five-on-three power play. They have four goals their last five games. Through almost every one of their games this season the inability to score, especially five- on-five hangs over the team on a nightly basis. The Canadiens have scored 23 goals while winning three of their last 12 games.
So, while the Canadiens can be criticized for putting in a passive defensive effort against San Jose Tuesday night, they still managed only one goal.
There is a possibility that the Canadiens will put together a couple of games where they pile up a few goals, they’ve done it before this season – remember those two games against Detroit? – but there is no probability they can sustain it with the personnel they currently have on their roster.
The Canadiens actually started well. Unless the first seven or eight minutes of the game were an illusion brought on by the fact that the Sharks weren’t quite ready to play.
Max Pacioretty had that breakaway in the second minute. Daniel Carr hit a post a couple of minutes later. Ultimately they couldn’t score off their 9-3 shots-on-goal advantage. The Sharks then took over outshooting the Canadiens 22-10 over the next 30 minutes, grabbed the lead and never came really close to losing it.
You have to be a very mean-spirited person to be cheering against Max Pacioretty over his current problems. This may have been his best game in weeks. Not only did he produce seven shots on goal, he also was the game’s best playmaker. Carr hit the post off a pass from Pacioretty and he set up the Canadiens only goal.
Still, he now has one goal in 22 games and is apparently on the trading block. Very sad.
ALSO WORTH MENTIONING
….The defense had issues again. Part of them caused by the lack of effort from the forwards. Joe Morrow is one of those players who causes his coach to tear out whatever hair remains on his head. One shift he’s effective, the next he finds himself out in no-man’s land. Yet, believe it or not, with two points he shares the Canadiens scoring lead over the last five games.
….Molson Cup December winner Nicolas Deslauriers registered three hits. He leads the league in hits since he joined the Canadiens in November.
….Andrew Shaw centred the fourth line and won nine of 12 faceoffs. He also led the Canadiens in power play time at 5:13 and scored the Canadiens only goal.
….The way team is playing in front of him has a lot to do with it but, after winning his first five games since his return from injury, Carey Price is 3-7-1 his last eleven starts with a goals-against average of almost 4.00. Those are the kind of stats he was putting up through the season’s first month and a half.
Next up, the Tampa Bay again. Second time in a week. That will be Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Vancouver is here Sunday and the Canadiens get five days off to get ready for Boston a week Saturday. Not a lot to look forward to.