GAME #59 – THE COLLAR TIGHTENS – Florida-6 Canadiens-3 (Feb. 17, 2019)

Feb 18th, 2019 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

The Canadiens have hit the skids at the worst possible time.

Their 6-3 loss at Sunrise Florida Sunday night was their 4th in a row and third straight in regulation time during a road trip that saw them outscored 12-4. Only a week ago the Canadiens were in third place in the Atlantic Division and there was discussion of a first round playoff meeting between the Canadiens and Toronto. Since then the Canadiens have fallen to the second wild card berth (eighth in the Eastern Conference) and are now only one point away from being pushed right out of the playoff picture by the Carolina Hurricanes who have won three in a row and eight of their last ten games.

THE BACKUP

To avoid forcing Carey Price to play in his third game in four nights, Claude Julien opted for Antti Niemi who had already beaten Florida twice this season. It didn’t turn out well. Niemi gave up three goals on nine shots before Price was ordered to replace him. Florida’s second goal, a 55 foot wrist shot that Niemi simply muffed was the indication that he wasn’t ready to play. When he left the Panthers led 3-1. The Canadiens came back to tie the game but never had a lead in the game. Unfortunately Price had to take the loss.

NO ESCAPE

With home ice Florida coach Bob Boughner had the last change. His decision was to play the Huberdeau/Barkov/Vatrano line against Danault/Drouin/Gallagher plus Weber and Mete. They ate the Canadiens up. The Huberdeau line was on the ice for four of the six Florida goals. Although the Danault unit was in trouble most of the night, it was also a particularly bad night for Shea Weber and Victor Mete. Weber looked slow while Mete was physically overmatched. Mete was minus-3 in the game; Weber minus-2.

BREAKING OUT

While the Danault line had an awful night, the Domi line was again the Canadiens best. It didn’t start that way. Domi was sitting in the penalty box when Aleksander Barkov scored the first of his three goals in the game’s fourth minute. Domi made up for that by scoring on his first shot on goal in three games and then added a second goal to tie the game at 3-3 in the second period. It was his 19th goal of the season, a career high.

ANOTHER NO-SHOW

It’s beginning to sound like we’re piling-on but it’s hard to ignore how bad Jonathan Drouin was during the three game road trip. In this game what stood out was his failure to finish a check in offensive zone early in the first period, a giveaway to Huberdeau that lead to a partial breakaway in the second period and a selfish retaliatory offensive zone slashing penalty also in the second period. He finished the night at minus-3 and was minus-6 in the Canadiens three game road trip. Drouin is going to be 24 next month. It’s becoming clear that what we’ve been seeing is what we’re going to get from now on and that’s not good.

NO ADVANTAGE

The Canadiens 5:34 of power play time produced only two shots and one scoring chance. That included twenty-six seconds of 5-on-3. Basically it looked the same as we’ve been seeing for most of the season.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….For the third straight game the Canadiens suffered a third period collapse, managing only three shots on goal. In Tampa they had only 4 third period shots and in Nashville they were outshot 11-6 in the third period. They Canadiens were outscored 6-1 in the third period in the three games.

….Tomas Tatar‘s aggressive checking created turnovers that led to both of Domi’s goals. Along with two assists he had three takeaways.

….Charles Hudon replaced Nicolas Deslauriers on the fourth line with newcomers Nate Thompson and Dale Weise. Hudon managed two shots on goal and had one scoring chance but overall the unit was ineffective.

….Thompson may be having problems finding chemistry on the fourth line but Julien isn’t hesitant to use him on the penalty kill where he logged 2:02 of the Panthers 4:04 PP time.

….The Canadiens longest losing streak of the season was five games – 0-3-2 between Nov. 19th and 27th.

….Domi and Brendan Gallagher led the Canadiens with four shots on goal.

MOVING ON

The Canadiens will try to end their four game losing streak Tuesday at the Bell Centre followed by a home game against Philadelphia. The Flyers are 8-1-1 over their last ten games. Starting next Saturday in Toronto the Canadiens will play seven of their next eight games on the road, including a three game California trip. Two thirds of the Canadiens final twenty-one games will be on the road.

One Comment to “GAME #59 – THE COLLAR TIGHTENS – Florida-6 Canadiens-3 (Feb. 17, 2019)”

  1. Ned Stark, Warden of the North says:

    I simply don’t believe it! The Reush Report finally noted that Weber is looking slow out there. He looked like some run of the mill defensemen this past weekend. Between his ineffectiveness on the PP where he looks like his feet are imbedded in cement. I lost count in the TB game how many pucks leaked out of the TB end while we were on the PP because he could move his feet. I remember when Bergy acquired him and he gave two reasons why: 1) he scores lots of PP goals and 2) no one will be taking liberties with Carey Price anymore with him in front. Wow! Both of those recommendations are in the toilet. He is hindering our PP because of his lack of mobility and that he can’t get his shot on the net and in our end his play has suffered. He can’t finish checks along the boards, he’s leaving guys open behind him because his eyes are totally glued on the puck and never checks his perimeter to see who has moved into open space. Part of that is because of his partner Mete. He gets dominated physically behind the net and along the boards. He can’t clear the front of the net or box his man out. He’s forcing Weber to pitch in a little more leaving him out of position. The same is true on the 2nd pairing as Reilly is a mirror image of Mete in our end. Unless these guys get some separation and recover a loose puck they are easily overmatched by the bigger forwards they are facing.

    Ok, I’ve cooled off after Saturday’s game but am starting to boil again. As time moves forward it’s becoming clearer to anyone that cares to look closely at #92 Johnny Drouin. Stevie Y. had seen all he wanted to see of Drouin and knew he had to get rid of this little Prima Donna. He didn’t have to look far for some sucker who’d be thrilled to pick him up. Yserman saw a kid with a huge attitude problem that wasn’t going to be fixed. Bergy saw a French Canadian kid he could play off to his media friends in the French Press & RDS as the team’s next great superstar. He even lied to everyone saying he was their new #1 Centre. But Bergy forgot to get a medical checkup done on his new kid on the block. The medical would have found that: he had no heart, was a quitter and was prone to brainless acts over and over again. Yup……just go back since the trade and check every game Drouin has played against his old TB mates. In just about everyone of those games he’s been mostly invisible, a total non factor, easily out worked and a penchant for giving up easily. After his glaring giveaway in the 3rd period that resulted in the 2nd TB goal I was totally livid.why? Did you see his effort to get back on that giveaway? He totally dogged it and hardly made an effort. This kid has a set of wheels on him but he refuses to use them. He reminds e of Max67 the way he plays away from the action out on the perimeter. As soon as he is challenged he backs off. He refuses to invest himself into the play. I just wonder how Gally11 feels about having this Cherrypicker on his line. What’s even worse is that Julien does nothing about it. Anyone else and they are benched and healthy scratched the next game. Two games in a row he’s assisted on a goal for the opposition. But because he’s Bergy’s “Pet” nothing is said or done about it. His work inside our blueline is worse than when DD was here. I find it laughable all these fans/writers that went along with Bergy and Therrien/Julien that Gally27 wasn’t very good defensively. He’s a Bob Gainey replica in comparison to Drouin. But no they have those rose tinted glasses on because hey!! He’s French Canadian so he has to be great!! What BS!!

    Where is the so called “Team Leadership”? Why hasn’t the coaches called out Drouin? Why hasn’t Weber? Why hasn’t anyone taken a run at him in practice?

    Well when Bergy is giving his big year end speech this year in early April and starts up with naming some of the players that let us down this year. He better not mention Price or a lot of other guys without 1st admitting he made a mistake in trading for Drouin. He’s not now or ever going to be the next French Canadian SuperStar unless he’s playing in some beer league.

    This team doesn’t belong in the playoffs. Why? Because of Bergy and Jullien alliwing this farce of #92 to continue along without action being taken. When a guy quits on his team as many times as he has he should be gone! But Bergy never takes Accountablity for his numerous mistakes. I’m sure Drouin’s play will be attributed to poor performance by Danault and mostly on Gally11 for not playing hard enough.

    Something is very wrong here‼️✔️

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