GAME #78 – DEATH KNELL – Columbus-6 Canadiens-2 (March 28, 2019)

Mar 29th, 2019 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

It is a question that’s been asked around Montreal for the last decade.

It goes like this.

“Which is better? A small but very fast team or a team with size and good speed?”

The answer from any NHL coach would be the latter, especially heading into the playoffs, or in the case of Thursday night’s game in Columbus, a game that could decide a playoff berth.

You would not be far off in blaming size as the key factor in the Canadiens 6-2 loss.  Size, and a failure to prevent the game from being played along the boards where the Blue Jackets physical advantage was guaranteed to dominate.  Why they failed to use their fast break skills to control the middle of the ice is a question that remains unanswered.

THE BREAKDOWN

We’ve seen it more often than is comfortable. After dominating the game’s first ten minutes and taking a 1-0 lead into the second period, the pendulum started to swing and the Canadiens went into protect mode. They still held their 1-0 lead to start the second period. An unbelievably bad line change in the second minute gave the the Blue Jackets a 5-on-2 break. (How do you mess up to the extent that you allow a 5-on-2 break?) David Savard scored and, despite the Canadiens taking a 2-1 lead on a soft Jeff Petry goal seven minutes later, the Blue Jackets had taken physical control of the game and by the third period also destroyed the Canadiens Claude Julien-induced game structure that has been key to whatever success his team has had this season.

ALL ALONE

Carey Price can’t do it all. Consider circumstances on four of the five goals he allowed. After the 5-on-2 break, the eventual go-ahead goal and game winner was the result Victor Mete failing to check Matt Duchene who then set up Panarin for the one-timer. The Blue Jackets’ backbreaking fourth goal was a clear breakaway by Riley Nash after Weber headed off on another badly-timed change. Price stopped the initial shot but couldn’t contain the rebound. Their fifth goal came off a 2-on-1 breakaway initiated by an easily intercepted Jeff Petry cross-ice pass in the Columbus zone. Price didn’t give the Canadiens any miracles, but then again, he was given little support.

FINGER POINTING

It is really hard to place blame when a team’s puck management system completely falls apart the way it did for the Canadiens.

Shea Weber and Victor Mete were asked to go up against the Blue Jackets top line. They had a miserable night.

On the third line (which is now actually the fourth) Kotkaniemi and Drouin struggled the entire game. But that’s been going on for a while now. We are all convinced it’s part of the learning curve for Kotkaniemi. Although he worked harder than he has recently, offensively Drouin remains a head case. I actually thought Armia on the right wing had a pretty good game, including a couple of good scoring chances and some effective penalty killing. But you can’t do it alone in the NHL, something Drouin never seems to be able to figure out.

For all of their issues, the defence scored both Canadiens goals (Kulak and Petry). Where were the forwards? Among the stalwarts, only Phillip Danault Gallagher had a rare bad game. So did Domi and Tatar.

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING

….The Canadiens were terrific through the game’s first ten minutes.   Catching the Blue Jackets off-guard with their afore-mentioned speed, they outshot the Blue Jackets 7-0. Columbus adjusted and through the remaining half of the period Columbus and a 9-2 edge on the shot clock.

….The Blue Jackets mortgaged a great deal of their future to acquire Matt Duchene from Ottawa at the trade deadline. It was paid back in part by the major league move he made on Mete before he set up Artemi Panarin for the one-timer which was the game-winning goal.

….A two-point game for Brett Kulak including the Canadiens first goal and the setup on their second goal. Kulak’s second consecutive two-point game. He looks good alongside Jeff Petry, especially in his own end. He could be a restricted free-agent on July first.   Off what he’s been seeing the lat month Marc Bergevin will looking to re-sign him.

….With the loss, according to sportsteamstats.com computers, Canadiens chances of making the playoffs dropped to 26.3%. Going into the game they were listed at 45.6%.

….The Canadiens were forced to replace the concussed Paul Byron with Nicolas Deslauriers. It changed the dynamic of the fourth line, and not for the better as could be expected.

….Do we even have to mention the power play again? In 2:49 advantage time – zero shots on goal.

FADED HOPES

The Canadiens have really put themselves in a tough situation.

The Canadiens flew to Winnipeg right after the Columbus game where they’ll play the Jets Saturday night. Columbus will play at Nashville Saturday, while Carolina is home to Philadelphia.

On Sunday, both the Blue Jackets and Hurricanes will finally pick up the games-in-hand they hold on the Canadiens. Columbus will play in Buffalo (in the second half of back-to-back games) while Carolina is in Pittsburgh. If somehow one or the other conspires to lose their game in hand and the Canadiens beat Winnipeg, hopes in Montreal will again rise as each team will have three games remaining on their schedules.

In the final week Columbus faces a difficult game in Boston and back-to-back final weekend home games against the Rangers and Ottawa.  At the same time Carolina has home games against Toronto and Philadelphia and a game in New Jersey.

By degree of difficulty, those schedules are not even close to the Canadiens final week which features games against Tampa and Toronto at home Tuesday and Saturday  sandwiched around Thursday’s game in Washington.

3 Comments to “GAME #78 – DEATH KNELL – Columbus-6 Canadiens-2 (March 28, 2019)”

  1. Bay_Bye says:

    time to trade Drouin..he will never be the next Great French Canadian as Bergevin claimed when we gave up a future Norris Dman for. defensively he totally sucks ans only shows up when he wants to and that is not too often…he will never mature into a star..

  2. david deVries says:

    One nail is in the play-off coffin will another one come on Saturday night?
    The game started out great against Columbus and then everything fell apart.
    Way too many on contested give-aways. Passes that ended up on the stick
    of a defender. Poor outlet passes from the second period on killed any
    chance of staying alive in the game. Too many players looked like Drouin in
    this game. He had plenty of company and the result was terrible. For this
    being a season defining game became an embarrassment for Canadiens.

  3. Ned Stark, Warden of the North says:

    I’m not sure about it….I think I’ve read anywhere from 6-8 articles on last night’s game. This was the only article that actually mentioned the FCSS’s name and lack of impact….again. The bias that is shown to this undeserving punk speaks volumes to why this team is currently on the outside looking in. You’ve got this spoiled punk making $5.5m and another 4 yrs on his deal doing less than zero and currently killing the “4th” line and our fine young rookie Centre’s confidence in K2. You have so many guys that are getting paid so much less then this puke and for the most part they are working their asses off every game. But Drouin you can depend on if: it’s an important game, especially if it’s on the road, against bigger teams, against top teams and for sure if we are playing Tampa home or away he will be in his GHOST Mode as in totally invisible. I have never seen any other player who’s been traded not be amped up to play against the team that traded him. Every time we’ve played Tampa he has validated for Stevie Y. and Jon Cooper why they wanted to move on from Drouin. It also confirms Stevie Y. Sucked Bergy in like a whale on this deal. He knew Bergy wanted a young French Canadian player at all costs. I also believe that is why former VP/Asst GM Rick Dudley is not with us anymore and is now in the FO with the Canes. He was sent to scout Drouin when TB sent him down to the AHL as a disciplinary action for not obeying Coach Cooper. Drouin promptly in a snit because he knew better than both Ysermen & Cooper and promptly quit on the team and went home. That showed exactly the type of character this guy is made of. Dudley is an old school type of executive. He played the game well for a long playing career. He never played that way in his career and he would never condone that type of player when he was a coach or GM. But thick in the skull Bergy only saw one thing in Drouin –> FCSS –> French Canadian Super Star and then of course Bergy added that little caveat of course that he was. #1 centre for this team. So there Bergy was having a good time with his pals at RDS and the French Press that he had finally got his #1 Centre and huge Bonus the guy is the next FCSS yah you heard it in Francais from Bergy that this kid was the next great French Canadian SuperStar. But unfortunately for Bergy after signing the FCSS to an over termed & over paid 6 yr deal about a half hour after the trade he forgot to proclaim loudly that Drouin/FCSS would need 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or the full term of his contract to get fully acclimated to playing in Quebec and Montreal before he might/maybe show some worth to the Habs. Of course I call Bull Sh#t !! Have you heard that BS used by let’s see: our #1 draft pic K2, or any other guy not from Quebec use that bogus excuse that all the hoopla of playing in MTL would slow their progress. I mean just about all these guys come here and only speak English or their home language from Europe etc. But Drouin has played in MTL when he was with TB, he played here growing up as a kid to an adult when he played junior in the Q. Yes I know he played in Halifax but just about every other team is in Quebec. Drouin has got away with murder ever since he got here. He refuses to play quality Defense. I mean some people here used to rag Galcheniuk for his Defense. But I’m sorry Gally27 was a Selke award winner like Gainey compared to that shit Defense Drouin provides. But what’s worse is that he has never been held accountable for is actions or in his case lack of actions. Any other player who pulled this crap is: benched, Healthy Scratched, demoted to the minors or moved out of the organization. You have to think that some of the “character” guys on this team like: Price, Weber, Gally11, Domi etc etc would not have taken the FCSS aside after practice or in the dressing room and tuned him up about his lack of game. If it wasn’t them why hasn’t Ducharme who was signed last off season with the specific purpose of lighting a fire under Drouin’s ass to get him to perform like he did in junior to earn the #3 draft spot. Of course you have to look at Coach Julien with not a lot of respect when he can be so hard on a guy like Hudon and the other guys on the 4th line prior to the trade deadline. These guys if they didn’t perform were in the pressbox. But instead he played Drouin for most of the year on the 2nd line and on the 1st Power Play unit. You wonder why that PP is last in the league?? Well #92 has a lot to do with it hiding out at the point and doing his little circle moves out there and killing prescious time away. He let Drouin go out there and put up zeros for the most part as in zero goals, assists, shots, hits and you name it including zero attempts to actually contribute to playing hockey for this team.

    You wonder why some people say this team quit last night. #92 is all you have to look at it for the WHY?????!!

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