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Ten takeaways from the Montreal Canadiens vs Philadelphia Flyers game

The Habs fail to get off on the right foot in their first game back after the All-Star break

Patrick Smith/Getty Images

1. The Habs start every game with a handicap.

Their coach flat-out doesn't give them the best chance at winning on any given night. By having Alex Galchenyuk on the wing, playing Max Pacioretty with David Desharnais and Dale Weise, and scratching scorers like Sven Andrighetto over replacement level players like Devante Smith-Pelly, the Habs climb uphill from the opening faceoff.

Tomas Plekanec said recently that they have to work twice as hard to score a goal, and he's right. It's incredibly apparent.

2. They got the chances, they just couldn't bury them.

This could be the title of the book they write about the 15-16 Habs season, and I wouldn't buy that book in case you were wondering. Three clear two-on-one opportunities in the first period alone. Three point blank shots, three point blank saves.

I liked what they were doing at even strength in the first period. They didn't make Mason's life easy, but he fought pucks off and stood his ground.

3. The theme of handicapping themselves is a recurring one.

The Flyers weren't good, and looked disorganized in their defensive zone all night. That was even more apparent on their first penalty kill of the game, but the Habs handicapped themselves out of the gate.

When you have a power play, you're supposed to take advantage of it. When you throw out Weise and Desharnais, you're making it easier for the opposition to defend. As soon as the second wave got on the ice, the Habs were dominant, and ended up converting on a scrambled play near the goal. The coaching staff needs to realize it and plan accordingly. Of course, they should have realized this months if not years ago.

4. They were dominant 5-on-5 early on, but the Flyers took it right back.

Mason was really strong early on, but the Habs kept coming and the puck finally went in. That play by Nathan Beaulieu to negate the zone exit and get the puck to Jeff Petry was excellent, and a good preview of the player he is becoming.

After the Habs' second goal, the shot attempts at even strength were 25-15 for the Habs. With around three minutes left in the second, the shots were 14-5 for the Flyers in that frame. They had the man advantage to help boost those numbers, but that's still something the Habs can't allow.

Mike Condon was huge in between the pipes. He made key save after key save, and looked good while doing it. He was swallowing pucks and not giving the Flyers second chances.

5. The Habs' comeback was a unicorn.

The last time they came back from being down by two goals was November 27 verus New Jersey. To give you some context, since then the Habs were down by two goals 14 times. 14 times!

Thanks to Jared Book for that stat.

6. Beaulieu nearly pulled a Markov. He isn't there yet.

We've seen Markov pull the back door, weak side one-timer on the powerplay countless times throughout his career. Beaulieu read the play perfectly, he put himself in the right position, Galchenyuk made an unbelievable pass, and Bealieu received it with the entire net open.

He went for speed over accuracy, and put it right at Mason, who gobbled it up. Over time he will learn that he doesn't need to rocket the puck in there, but rather take a half second and put it on the open side. Goalies won't have the time or the ability to get to the open net. It is still encouraging to see things like this happen though.


Oh boy. I alluded to the scoring chances above, and how the Flyers took the game back from the Habs. I think this was due largely in part to their powerplay chances, but boy is this stat impressive for Condon.

8. Therrien knows he's safe.

By putting fourth liners on the power play for whatever reason, you can preach "sending a message" or "keeping players' energy up" to me all you want, it really goes to show you how he thinks. His team is down by one with a real chance to get back into it, and he doesn't give his team the best chance at winning. His job is to give his team the best chance at winning, and he simply doesn't do that.

It's hard to understand how his boss isn't already in panic mode. It seems abundantly clear that he's incapable of leading his team through this rough patch without his superstar goaltender, and that has to be alarming.

9. It was a great hockey game.

The last time I enjoyed a Habs game that much was the Winter Classic, and that wasn't even that good of a game.

It had it all. A comeback, fast-paced play, an extended power play with the game on the line. It was intense, and I enjoyed it despite the final score. If they're going to lose, at least make the games worth watching.

10. Allow me to step up on my soapbox, if you will.

On the Everest that is the remainder of the Habs' season.

I think that the front office knows more about Carey Price than they're letting on, and that's why we haven't seen any change. If Price is out long-term then Bergevin can't do anything, he has to ride this out and deal with the fallout. Without Price the roster and is really exposed, and the coaching even more so.

With this roster, the team shouldn't be the worst team in the NHL, but that's the reality right now. I think Bergevin knows that Price is that important to their success. I think he knows that a new coach isn't going to make Price healthy and it wouldn't be ideal to bring in a new guy (who would ideally improve the system and the player usage) with this high of a mountain to climb.

I think that if Therrien is getting fired at all, it will be after the season, and they'll start fresh in 2016-17. It's unfortunate, but that looks like the reality. I think that this has exposed Therrien, and hopefully Marc Bergevin realizes that.