The Canadiens could have met the quarter season mark with a .500 record, but instead served up one of the lamest efforts seen in recent years in a 2-0 loss to Nashville.
How lame where they?
For starters, they were outshot 55-20, with 10 shots coming in the final period.
They produced no sustained pressure at any period throughout the game.
Five defensemen had a total of zero shots on goal, with four coming off the stick of eternal minefield Marc-Andre Bergeron.
In three periods, the Canadiens registered only 4 takeaways.
Apart from Jason Arnott's goaltender interference penalty, their effort caused Nashville to take one single penalty during the game.
They got off to a cement footed start, outshot 24-4 in the first frame.
Ten Predators had 3 shots or more, including Steve Sullivan, who looked like a power forward with 11 shots on net.
All this happened against the Predators, hardly a team known for their offensive punch. They were shutout by a goalie whose name sounds like Pecker Innie.
The Canadiens looked stymied, bewildered, lost and dysfunctional for three periods.
For Jacques Martin, juggling lines and sitting players hasn't provided a solution. Perhaps sticking to regular lines and maybe allowing players to learn to play with familiar faces would help. Having two centremen in Maxim Lapierre and Tom Pyatt play wing only adds to the on-ice dyslexia.
There was brutal zone coverage in every zone from every angle, in fact all the Canadiens seemed to cover on this night was their own jockstraps.
Here's what really gnaws. The Predators have been coached since forever by Barry Trotz. Their style of play has always been the same. They deploy two forecheckers in the Montreal end and constantly pressure the puck. Their game is all about winning battles. They suffocate outlet pass options and never let up. The players should have known exactly what to expect and be prepared to counter.
It was a disgusting effort all around.
Commentator Benoit Brunet again got my boxers entwined, ragging out Andrei Kostitsyn for actually doing something well. There is such a thing as good penalties to take, considering they prevent a goal.
Kostitsyn is often accused of sparing his second effort, but on one play he was the nearest forward back with a Canadiens defender caught up ice on a pinch. Andrei sees a Nashville 2 on 1 breakout and gets it in gear, arriving at a Predators forward right on time to nullify a pass that looked like a sure goal. It wasn't a blatant foul, but AK put his stick over the Nashville player's so that he never got a shot off. It was a heads up play and a borderline call. For that, Brunet began chewing him out, realizing almost mid sentence it seemed, that Andrei had done little wrong.
There was one good thing on the night, and the only reason the Canadiens were in this game at all for 47 minutes was the play of Carey Price, who couldn't be faulted on either of Sullivan's goal.
Being that Price tied a Habs record for most saves in a game, I've asked Chris Boyle to do his stuff, and do a breakdown and analysis of the 53 stops made by him.
We'll see if we can't have something up here by morning, to put it all into perspective.
It's all that we can do after a game like this!