Everything seemed right for the Canadiens against the Bruins Monday night. The Bruins were dealing with injuries to key players. They were in a minor slump and they were playing their second game in twenty-four hours.
All the Canadiens had to do was show up. And they didn’t. They were a well-beaten 4-0 losers. And with their win, the Bruins were able to move a point ahead of the Canadiens in the wild card race.
SAD STATISTICAL STORY
It was a complete team malfunction.
With the exception of their goaltender, no part of the Canadiens game was acceptable. All of the Canadiens good players played badly. Shots on goal 35-22 for Boston. High danger scoring chances were 14-5. Turnovers in the first period – fourteen, plus five Boston takeaways.
It’s a team game, and the team was lousy top-to-bottom and, all things considered, it may be the worst effort of their up and down season.
WHERE TO START?
By the time the game was ten minutes old the Canadiens had turned the puck over eleven times. On one of them Michael Chaput‘s soft pass was picked off coming out of his end and the Bruins turned it around for their first goal.
On the killer third goal, for some reason Shea Weber and Brett Kulak elected to go for a change while the Bruins were picking Brendan Gallagher‘s pocket at centre ice. The Bruins were right back into the Canadiens end to score with no defence in sight.
Claude Julien had it right in his post game assessment of the power play. “We have to figure out if we want to pass or we want to score.” It was another of those frustration man-advantage nights made up of broken plays and perimeter passing. The Canadiens PP was 0-for-3. Six minutes of power play time; four shots on goal. The last time they scored a power play goal was the fifth goal of a 5-2 win over the Rangers December first. Since then, 25 consecutive times frustrated over eight full games. They have only five goals on their last fifty-eight power play chances which is an horrendous 8.6%.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN
As mentioned, the Canadiens are an up-and-down team. I can think of three or four real stinkers in their thirty-four games to date, although none so devoid of competitive emotion as this one. Somehow they’ve bounced back from the bad ones, and in most cases immediately. This is one of those to forget and move on.
But, the timing for this one wasn’t great. Final home game of the year, and the next six games on the road starting with a tough Colorado team in Denver Tuesday. Will it be another bounce-back or the start of a losing streak? Stand by.
….Canadiens opponents are now 5-0 on goals scored while the teams are playing four a side. Boston’s 4-on-4 goal really hurt, coming in the final minute of the first period. Minus-5 is the NHL’s worst record 4-on-4.
….Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Brendan Gallagher and Matthew Peca had minus-2 nights.
….The Canadiens were charged with 24 giveaways in the game. Only 11 by Boston.
….Leading the giveaway parade was Tatar with four, all four in the first ten minutes of the game. Drouin and Reilly gave it up three times.
….The Canadiens were listed with 46 hits but 23 of them came in the third period garbage time.
….And indication of how little pressure he faced, former Canadien Jaroslav Halak recorded his 45th career shutout and wasn’t named one of the game’s three stars.
….After the game the Canadiens announced that Noah Juulsen, who was no better, or worse than any of the other defencemen in this game, had been assigned to Laval and Victor Mete will be making the road trip. With Juulsen gone the Canadiens are again down to two right-shot defencemen – Weber and Petry.
The Canadiens travel Monday so they won’t get a practice in before their next game in Denver on Tuesday. Then it’s Arizona on Thursday and Las Vegas Saturday. After returning home for Christmas it will be the annual Florida holiday trip; the Panthers on the 28th and Tampa the 29 followed by Dallas on New Year’s Eve. We can only guess where the team will be when they play their next home game against Vancouver January third.