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Canadiens vs Lightning recap: Habs get slaughtered in Tampa

It wasn't a pretty game to watch, but fans shouldn't panic just yet.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

There's really no other way of putting it; that game was a pathetic display by the Habs, on all fronts.

Let's start with the obvious, Carey Price has not had a fantastic start to the year. In fact, it's been rather mediocre. Although if we're being realistic, the good news is that probably won't last.

Last night's game got out of control, and I'm sure Michel Therrien will be the first to point that out. The players know they put on a terrible performance, but we'd be a little naive to put too much stock in this one blowout game. Even though the Habs got absolutely skewered on the special teams front, the even-strength numbers weren't terrible. Yes, Steven Stamkos scored at will, but that's bound to happen when your team doesn't game plan for the biggest powerplay threat in the league.

Instead of recapping the horror show of a game, let's concentrate on what needs fixing. If you're looking to watch the game highlights, you can check out the Top Six Minutes.

  • Montreal's special teams aren't just broken. They're on life support right now, and in need of desperate change. The reverse umbrella that Clement Jodoin put into place last season is flat out terrible, and even though Subban's point shot had become predictable, it at least gave the Habs a shot at a powerplay goal. The setup right now takes away Subban's point shot, but doesn't add much in terms of scoring opportunities down low for the wingers.
  • The penalty kill is bad, and it should feel bad. Again, that shouldn't last, especially since Price's save percentage should increase in those situation. There's been mental lapses by experienced players, and poor coverage by guys that are usually considered reliable.
  • Montreal's inability to carry the puck into the offensive zone, and inevitable reliance on the dump-and-chase is horrible to watch. It's also painfully inefficient at times.
  • Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais are showing little to no chemistry in recent games.
  • It's a cliche, but the Habs really need to put together a 60 minute effort. The miracle comebacks were fun, but clearly an anomaly that shouldn't be relied upon going forward.

There were some positives from this game, believe it or not.

  • The Bourque-Eller-Sekac line is doing rather well, all the while being given really tough zone starts. They're not scoring, but they are getting the puck out of the defensive zone quickly, and producing scoring chances.
  • Up until midway through the third period, Jarred Tinordi was having a pretty good game. He even showed some offensive flair with a smart pass to setup Brendan Gallagher.
  • Manny Malhotra remains a face-off wizard. He went 67% last night, and he's currently sitting at 66.87% for the season. He's not the only one winning his face-offs, as the Habs are second in the league in that department.
  • Jiri Sekac came as close as you can get to scoring his first NHL goal, but he was ultimately robbed by a sprawling Anton Stralman. He's playing well, despite the lack of offensive production.
  • Galchenyuk is using his body a lot more this year, not only to protect the puck, but he's throwing his weight around whenever he can on the forecheck.
  • Tom Gilbert struggled tonight, but he's still one of the most responsible players with the puck. Yes, you heard me right. Many people think he's a giveaway machine, but the fact is he's not.
The result of this game may be tough to swallow, but if this ends up being a reality check for the team, it may not have been a total loss. Considering the Habs' opening schedule, in the long run we should be happy that the team managed to take home six out of a possible eight points.

There's really no sense in trying to evaluate a game like last night's, especially since almost everything went wrong. The best bet is to file it under 'that was ugly to watch', and hope that the coaching staff, specifically Clement Jodoin, comes up with a better game plan than the one currently being used. If we're being honest, almost any change would probably be better than what we've been seeing from our special teams lately.

It's going to be a long season, bad games happen. It's probably best not to dwell on the negative result in this particular situation.