Despite out-shooting their opponents by a respectable nine shots, the Habs were out-gunned en route to a 5-2 loss, effectively halting any momentum they might have picked up by beating the rival Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
A quick turn-around for both teams means the Canadiens will have an opportunity to right their wrongs in the second game of this home-and-home series, though they will need to find a way to bury more of their chances if they hope to do so.
This, unfortunately, has been the narrative for nearly two months. While we have seem shades and glimpses of what could be, it appears that the Habs are still mired in what can only be described as a dreadful run of results.
The Blue Jackets are far from the league's stiffest opposition, and represent the type of team the Habs need to beat - not only to re-gain their confidence, but if they have any hope of finding their way back into a playoff position before April. Tonight's game is the final one before the All-Star break, and there is little doubt that the Canadiens would like to head into their vacation on a positive note.
How to Watch
Tale of the Tape
|53.5||Score-Adjusted Corsi %||47.0|
|0.95||5v5 Goal Ratio||0.86|
Know Your Enemy
John Tortorella's Blue Jackets are a team looking squarely to the future, with the expectation being that they may have a shot at adding highly-touted American forward Auston Matthews to their young core at the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
Until then, however, the Jackets ice a roster that, on most nights, isn't altogether competitive. With that being said, there are some dangerous players throughout Columbus' line-up that opposing teams must respect.
On the offensive side of things, the Jackets took a hit after dealing first line centre Ryan Johansen to the Nashville Predators. That's not to say that the team is devoid of any productive talent, as they still boast a number of threats.
Perhaps the most potent among them is 23-year-old Brandon Saad, who has tallied 17 goals and 33 points in 48 games this year. Joining him up front is veteran Scott Hartnell, as well as Connecticut-native Cam Atkinson who has developed into a reliable scorer for the Blue Jackets.
The Jackets' defense is perhaps the area that shows the most promise, with the duo of Seth Jones and Ryan Murray set to patrol the Columbus blue-line for years to come. While they are certainly the marquee pair, the likes of Jack Johnson and David Savard cannot be ignored. Savard has been especially important for the Jackets defense this season as he leads all defensemen with 16 points, tied with Murray.
Goaltending has been an issue for the Blue Jackets all season long, and they are unlikely to get much relief in that respect tonight. With Sergei Bobrovsky and Curtis McElhinney both battling the injury bug, and Joonas Korpisalo playing last night in Columbus, it's likely that young Anton Forsberg will get the call at the Bell Centre. With just 9 games of NHL experience, the Habs will need to be able to take advantage.
Last Time Out
Tonight's meeting is, of course, the second game of a home-and-home series against the Blue Jackets after the teams butted heads last night as well.
Things were looking good early on for the Canadiens as Brendan Gallagher put the team up 1-0 after scoring a bit of a lucky goal with the two-man advantage. After looking for an open lane on the play, Gallagher's pass was re-directed towards goal and found it's way past Korpisalo.
Cam Atkinson would knot things back up shortly after though, hopping on a loose puck after a sloppy scramble in the Habs' zone. The score wouldn't remain tied for long, however, as Atkinson scored again to give the Jackets a one-goal lead early in the second period.
In an odd turn of events, P.K. Subban tied things up again with a bomb of a shot from centre ice that Korpisalo couldn't handle. That would be all the offense the Habs could muster on Monday night, however, as the Blue Jackets went on to add three more goals of their own - including Saad's game-winner in the third period.
The Habs will want to once again out-chance the Blue Jackets if they hope to get their revenge tonight, though they will evidently need to finish those chances with more regularity in order for it to happen.