Everybody is freaking out.
The Montreal Canadiens have lost four straight games, grabbing just a single, solitary point in the process. It stands to reason that after the Habs' struggles the last little while, and the miscues by Michel Therrien, that people would blame the coach after yet another loss. That shouldn't be happening after this one.
After all the criticism about Michel Therrien's misuse of P.K. Subban, he ran Subban for 27:09, leading to possibly P.K.'s best game of the year. 1 assist, 9 shots on net, 15 attempted shots, and a team high 76.2% even strength Fenwick. He was a tour de force. It was a bit surprising the level to which he turned it around, as he and Erik Karlsson both started the game trading high profile giveaways.
We rip on Karlsson a lot here for his lack of defensive play, and mostly just to make Sens fans mad, but we should take a moment to appreciate the amazing show we get to see in watching these two guys head to head. Hockey Night in Canada showed Karlsson saying hello to Subban before the game, probably reiterating that he knows Subban is better than he is.
But in all seriousness, this is not a loss to hang your head about. After the game against Minnesota, the Canadiens were on a steep downward trend, but they've begun to crawl their way out of it against Ottawa last night, even if the score didn't look that way.
Montreal climbed up two spots in the league rankings for Fenwick close, hoping over Boston, but where they dropped, and continue to drop, is their even strength shooting percentage. Robin Lehner played a good game, but he also did a lot of snow angels, and some "pray it hits me" flailing where he got extremely lucky. The Canadiens are running through a dip in the percentages right now, and it may not reverse right away.
It's hard to intuitively understand how Carey Price could put up a .930 save percentage this season and have a losing record, especially when Montreal is outshooting their opponents, but rest assured that it won't last, as hopeless as it may seem.
After last night, it was pretty obvious that the George Parros and Douglas Murray era will be over as soon as there are healthy bodies to replace them. Parros saw under 3 minutes of ice time, and Murray was used under 6 minutes at even strength.
It's clear that Therrien still doesn't realize that Francis Bouillon is a liability, but when Alexei Emelin returns, I'm pretty sure that liability will look a lot better than it does next to Murray.
But man oh man, is Parros ever a boat anchor. The fourth line with Parros on the ice had zero unblocked shot attempts. Without him on? Travis Moen was +2/-0, Ryan White was +1/-1. White actually outshot Ottawa on while killing penalties 3-2.
The most encouraging thing about the game though, was Max Pacioretty looking like his old self again. We haven't really talked about it much until now, but Pacioretty has been off to a very, very atypical start this season. A slow start for scoring goals is familiar for him, but he hasn't been the possession beast that we're used to. Last night with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta, he was matched against Ottawa's top possession line of Clarke MacArthur, Kyle Turris, and Bobby Ryan, and they crushed them by a 2-1 margin.
Bold prediction: This is the last time this season that the Montreal Canadiens lose four straight games.
Fancy stats from Extra Skater.
Check out the gloating, winning side over at Silver Seven.
Post script extra: Lars Eller talks about the Gryba hit. Gryba never called him. Even Zdeno Chara called Max. Douche.
More from Eyes On The Prize:
- Canadiens vs Senators Top Six Minutes - Those Bleeping Bleepers Again Edition
- Checking in on Artturi Lehkonen, and why he isn't scoring
- An open letter to Michel Therrien
- Ears on the Prize - Episode 9 - Podcast
- Hamilton's goaltender controversy: Is it Tokarski or Mayer?