1. Stephane Waite needs to work with Mike Condon on his puck-handling
Condon just isn't good behind his net. This is something that I've noticed about his game since his debut and it's something that can be expected of a rookie goalie playing his first stretch of NHL games. Obviously it's not the most important part of his game nor should it be his main focus while working with Waite but this is something that can definitely be improved upon. He constantly misses routine dump-ins which reduces the chances of the Habs gaining possession. On top of that, when he does get the puck he makes the wrong decision when he plays it.
It seems that nearly every time Condon sends the puck off his stick he is making life difficult for his teammates to get the puck out of the zone. He doesn't seem to know when to let his defender scoop it up or send it the opposite direction. It's something that can be corrected with practice and video sessions and it's something that doesn't deserve 180 words ... but here we are.
2. The Habs were way too tentative on their early 5-on-3 but got a lucky bounce
They were way too slow in moving the puck around. If you let the defenders establish their triangle you have to move the puck around to get the defenders moving. The Habs wanted P.K. to get the puck on net and the Jackets knew it (every team knows it). Ideally you want to see quick puck movement, not one player scanning the rink for a seam in the defense. Gallagher's goal came off a favourable bounce, but he wasn't shooting; he was trying to thread the needle to the winger on the far side of the net.
3. Lars Eller is playing his best hockey
It's no coincidence that this coincides with his move to the middle. It's time for him and Alex Galchenyuk to get back together.
4. Horrid defensive zone coverage
It's not even a numbers thing, you can tell just by looking casually that the Habs' defensive game needs a lot of work. A lot of work. The early Columbus goal was a good example of that. The puck bobbled around the slot causing a lot of confusion and every Hab was completely lost. The Jackets remained calm and took advantage of four players in white jerseys scrambling to find the puck. There was no defensive awareness nor was there any semblance of responsible defensive positioning. You can expect confusion on a broken play, but to see that many players scramble and try to block a shot was disheartening.
5. Condon can't allow goals like the first one Cam Atkinson scored
He just can't. When his team is spiraling out of control and can't score goals to save their lives he has to be their rock. He can't let soft backhands without any impeding factor behind him.
Yes Atkinson took advantage of Brandon Dubinsky setting a semi-pick on Tomas Plekanec, which allowed him to get to the slot, but Plekanec shouldn't have to worry about that getting through the goalie.
We can make excuses for him all we want (his coach has doled them out non-stop) but they aren't going to win games by letting goals like that happen.
6. The Habs were incredibly lucky
And I mean LUCKY! The Habs didn't really do anything that would warrant scoring a goal last night and they ended up with two.
That Subban goal was ridiculous.
7. The Habs' system is flawed
Michel Therrien is totally OK with giving the puck away and making his squad fight for it. Time and time again we saw the Habs chip the puck out of the zone and hope for a neutral zone recovery. That's just not smart hockey.
There was a moment late in the second where the Habs were regrouping in their own zone and the forwards were well positioned for a breakout pass. Rather than pass the puck to one of the forwards, Alexei Emelin just lobbed the puck out of the zone. It ended up in the glove of a Columbus defenseman who caught it and sent it right back towards Emelin in the form of a short pass to his forward.
Not smart hockey.
8. Did I mention their defensive zone coverage was horrid?
I'm not sure what happened on that Saad goal but under no circumstances should a man be left alone at the side of the net like that at even strength.
9. There was no sense of urgency
I didn't get the sense that they felt the need to come back.
10. The Habs need change and no change is coming.
At least not this season. When Marc Bergevin said Therrien was safe he gave his coach carte-blanche. Therrien has watched his team go from first to worst, and has done nothing about it.
The Habs haven't won consecutive games since November 27.