Three losses in four games where the Canadiens have outplayed the competition has a lot of fans searching for answers. As I mentioned this morning, this is the kind of bad puck luck every team goes through at some point in the season.
The Canadiens were all over the Penguins from the outset, and some major kudos has to be given to Michel Therrien. After being unsatisfied with the way his team played against the Penguins in Montreal at the beginning of March, he drew up a game plan that should have netted a win.
A lot of people on twitter were getting on David Desharnais' production on the road, but Therrien insulated Desharnais with P.K. Subban and Josh Gorges for the night, and allowed Bylsma to match Crosby against that line for nearly the entire game.
What was the result? Crosby had one of the worst games he's had all season, winning just 42% of his faceoffs, with a 34.5% Fenwick, and 43.2% Corsi. Desharnais on the other hand won 56% of his faceoffs, with a 66.7% Fenwick, and 72.0% Corsi. So let's not hang this loss on Desharnais.
The Canadiens though, just couldn't find the back of the net, and not for lack of trying. Michael Ryder hit the crossbar twice in the opening period, the second ping was a millimeter from going in. Most games, one of those, or both, go in. And that would make it a bit of a different game, wouldn't it.
Sometimes though, you get stymied for 60 minutes, and the best player in the game shows you why he's the best player in the game. Sidney Crosby's goal was star move, and that he did it while having a horrid game is exactly why he is who he is.
What made last night's game perhaps even more unlikely, was that the Habs were shutout by two different goalies. Marc-Andre Fleury started the game, but the Penguins suffered their own case of bad luck when Tyler Kennedy fell awkwardly into Fleury, who was forced to leave the game. Tomas Vokoun was excellent in relief, and the Canadiens couldn't knot it up.
More bad luck for the Penguins occured away fromt he scoreboard, as Kris Letang has been put on the injured reserve today with a broken toe. Letang was playing in his first game back from a previous injury.
So perhaps I was wrong about the Canadiens ending the Penguins' winning streak personally, but they seemed to do enough damage to the roster that it should be over soon.
The Canadiens will look for a much better result and a similar effort against the Bruins tonight.
Check out Pensburgh for reaction from the winning side.