How on earth have the Montreal Canadiens gone ten straight visits to Calgary without a single win? Well nights like tonight would have you thinking that's unlikely, but for most of that time the Habs have been a bad team. They aren't bad right now though, so what the heck is going on?
Well the Habs were extremely sloppy in the first period. They had the lion's share of shots and shot attempts, but the few shots that the Flames did generate were prime scoring chances. Two of those five went in.
The first was a brutal, inexcusable tunrover by Travis Moen that gave Sean Monahan and Lee Stempniak a 2-on-1 break. Carey Price stopped the first shot but couldn't recover in time to stop Monahan from smacking home the rebound.
The second goal resulted from Josh Gorges, Brandon Prust, and Jarred Tinordi not paying attention to where the Flames were on the ice, and a hit from behind by Jiri Hudler on Tinordi jostling the puck loose. A bit more blown coverage and a backdoor tap in for Sven Baertschi made it 2-0.
Things to note by this point in the game: Francis Bouillon has more ice time than P.K. Subban does. How does something like that happen? Well he's Michel Therrien's best friend, remember? Bouillon had a very good first two games of the season, but he and Tinordi were heavily exposed last night on the road. Bouillon's most mystifying moves of the night? Turning the puck directly over to the Flames three times in the final minute while the net was empty. He had time and space each and every time, including open teammates, but he passed to the Flames. Why?
And the news doesn't get any better for the defense, as Josh Gorges was limited to one shift in the third period with an injury. As noted by Arpon Basu on twitter last night, it's almost impossible to keep Gorges off the ice, even in excruciating pain, so if he's not playing you have to assume it's something serious. It looks like Nathan Beaulieu might get a shot tomorrow, which at least should mean no Bouillon on the powerplay.
The David Desharnais line benefitted greatly from the return of Max Pacioretty, with Danny Briere making several really nice plays and going to the net, but Desharnais himself still evokes the image of an empty Kleenex box. I feel bad picking on Desharnais because I really do not believe he is this bad of a player, but he is playing impossibly horrible. His possession numbers looked great last night, but how much of it was him? I would venture to say almost none of it.
Desharnais got more ice time than Lars Eller did last night, but Eller was given two more shifts, Desharnais just took longer shifts. Speaking of Eller, he wasn't quite the force that he was the previous two games, but his hot streak continued as he scored the second Habs goal. set up by the best player on either team; P.K. Subban.
Subban played just 31 seconds more than Francis Bouillon overall last night. In spite of being the reigning Norris Trophy winner. In spite of being the best player on either team. In spite of scoring one goal and creating the second one. Subban is a force and Michel Therrien has to learn to use him. The Canadiens are never going to win anything of importance with Subban playing under 25 minutes a game.
The most frustrating thing about the Habs' defense right now is that the lack of depth is preventing a Markov - Subban pairing.
We could rant on and on about what went wrong last night, and idiots could blame Price when it's unwarranted, but I've got a meeting on a research project this morning so you get a short recap. Here's the fancy stats from last night's game.
The Habs are right back in action tonight against the Oilers.
More from Eyes On The Prize:
- Canadiens at Flames - Top Six Minutes - Too little, too late; Calgary wins 3-2
- Ears on the Prize - Episode 5
- Breaking down film - the Canadiens' power play and the argument for the 1-3-1
- The winner of the True Rivalry Habs t-shirt is...
- Tomas Hertl with the goal of the year (and other links)