Nathan Beaulieu called the Montreal Canadiens’ meeting with the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday a “wake-up call” - a game they managed to win despite being heavily out-played and out-shot. Judging by last night’s result in Columbus, however, it seems as though not everybody got the message.
As embarrassing a loss as they come, the Habs were blown out by the Blue Jackets on Friday and will now have to put it quickly behind them as they prepare for the Philadelphia Flyers in the second game of a back-to-back - which may be a blessing in disguise. Having little time to dwell on what happened yesterday evening might just be for the best.
Unfortunately for Montreal, the Flyers are rolling. With a day of rest yesterday, Philadelphia will feature the fresher legs as they look to extend a three-game winning streak.
How to Watch
Puck drop: 7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT
In the Canadiens region: City (English), TVA Sports (French)
In the Blue Jackets region: TCN-PH
Elsewhere: NHL Center Ice, NHL GameCenter
This will be the second match-up between these two clubs this season, having last played each other just last week. That game, of course, was a 3-1 win for the Canadiens in what was a very close contest. If the Habs are hoping for a similar result tonight, they’ll need to find a way to slow down an offence that is firing on all cylinders.
Jakub Voracek scored the Flyers’ lone goal against Montreal last week, just one of his six on the season thus far. Meanwhile, Wayne Simmonds and Matt Read each have six of their own, not to mention Claude Giroux who leads the Flyers with 13 points to-date. With 43 goals as a team, the Flyers have been the second most potent offence league-wide this season.
To make matters worse for the Habs, Philadelphia has been one of the league’s better possession teams this year with a CF% of 53.02%, meaning Montreal may be once again stuck in their own zone for a large portion of the evening.
Defensively, Mark Streit has really stepped up early in the season after seeing a dip in production last year. The 38-year-old is showing no signs of aging this year with 9 points in 12 games to lead his unit, which has no shortage of offensive talent when you add in young Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov.
Interestingly, the Flyers have now competed in six consecutive one-goals games, having won four of them. After the events of last night, a one-goal contest would now seem like a nice change of pace.
The important thing, of course, is to keep in mind just where the Habs stand. Ten goals though they may have allowed, it still counts for just one loss, and there’s plenty of time to figure their play out. No matter how much (or how little) confidence you may have in their ability to do so, the fact of the matter is that the Habs remain in as strong a position in the standings as we could have hoped, and have given themselves some early breathing room to let games like the one we saw last night not hurt them too much.
What matters is how the team responds, and we won’t have to wait long to see how they do.