Allow me to be a little smug for a moment. The Canadiens have been playing pretty awful the last little while. The thing is, even when the Canadiens are horrible, they're horrible as a great team. They're not a horrible team that's playing horrible. This means that even if they're playing far below their best, they have a chance to win if they don't get horribly unlucky.
This is exactly what wasn't happening in the three games prior to last night, and exactly what did happen last night against the Lightning. They didn't get all the bounces, but they got enough of them.
Price was much sharper, making at least two show stopping saves, but he also got some help with the Lightning hitting the post 4 times. The previous 3 games, posts weren't being hit. Or if they were, the puck was trickling in instead of wide. Are we talking about Price being brilliant if two of those posts go in? What about 3?
This is why I've been harping on luck the last two days. It's unsatisfying to some, but it exists as an effect on games.
The Canadiens as a team of skaters weren't any better last night than they were against Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or Toronto. In the Habs' zone, passing lanes are still wide open, especially in front of the crease. This was especially obvious on both Tampa Bay goals.
On Richard Panik's goal, both Francis Bouillon and Davis Drewiske were completely useless. Bouillon was caught in no man's land on the play, and Drewiske basically watched Panik take the puck to the net and score.
Drewiske's ice time shows signs that Therrien isn't please with his play, while Bouillon was used heavily in the first two periods and sparingly in the third.
The most heavily relied on defenseman in the third was P.K. Subban, who played nearly 13 minutes of the final 20.
I started this recap at around midnight, and it's now 3:15am. Since this will be published the morning after, surely you all will have heard why it's taken so long to write it. Following the news in Boston tonight is gutwrenching, and I'm finding it very difficult to continue writing about hockey. Stay Strong Boston.
Check out Raw Charge for reaction from the losing side.