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Canadiens vs. Senators recap: Pathetic special teams sink the Habs

In arguably the worst special teams performance in Canadiens history, they were dominated by the Senators.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Neither of the two teams playing in Ottawa last night are heading to the playoffs. Neither is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs at this point, but they both face extreme uphill battles. It is certainly a far cry from last season, when the Canadiens and Senators were opponents in the opening round of those playoffs.


Image Credit: HockeyStats.ca

Though the Canadiens started out by controlling the majority of the play in the first period, their power play was it's usual level of sad. After generating a scoring chance at their own end, the Sens went down the ice and got a two-on-one, which was converted by Jean-Gabriel Pageau for the lead.

You could tell that both teams came into the game with high levels of frustration. Mike Brown and Chris Neil predictably had a scrap, Tomas Plekanec and Bobby Ryan almost went at it, and there were plenty of post-whistle scrums going on. You could say these teams do not like each other.

The rest of the first period was rather uneventful, as was the first 10-plus minutes of the second. Late in that second however, the Habs' power play would burn them yet again. This time it was Curtis Lazar who got loose on a breakaway, and fired one past Mike Condon. Two goal deficit, both given up with a man advantage.

As if the hockey gods needed to troll the Canadiens any more, the Senators would increase the deficit to three on a power play of their own. Marc Methot was able to surprise Ben Scrivens, scoring a weak one while he wasn't quite covering his post properly.

And if you thought it was over there, they had some more pitiful special teams ready for you. Not long after the Methot goal, the Canadiens got another power play. On this occasion, Alex Chiasson got loose on a breakaway and, of course, he scored.

As if 4-0 was not enough for them, the Senators just had to go get a fifth. Mika Zibanejad got a tip on a Mike Hoffman shot, and Ben Scrivens didn't even see it go in. Thankfully, the bleeding stopped there, and the Canadiens were able to leave the ice after arguably the worst special teams performance in club history.

Thoughts

  • About that power play. Montreal is two for 30 in their last 10 games, gave up two shorthanded goals last night, and one this week. Over at least those last 10, they're actually a minus with the man advantage. It isn't just bad, it's an epic failure that must be addressed if this team ever wants to be good again.
  • Personally, I have to chalk it up to coaching. I get that there are a ton of injured players right now, and that they're working with a shell of the opening day lineup, but this is ridiculous. It is blatantly obvious that they can't structure a proper power play, and has been for the entire year, even when they were winning.
  • Why on earth was Ben Scrivens not pulled after the third, or the fourth goal? The third goal was extremely weak, and you can't really fault him on most of the goals, but after that goal it was apparent that it wasn't his night. Leaving him in there is, in my opinion, yet another ridiculous coaching decision.
  • If I can offer but one positive, it is that I have been impressed with Alexei Emelin of late. I'm generally quite hard on him, and over the last stretch he's been somewhat of a bright spot in my opinion. I'm always happy to admit when I've been too hard on a Canadiens player, and Emelin is making it look like I should be doing that now.
I'm going to stop the thoughts section there because I need to vent for a moment. Since when is it permissible in Montreal for the team to be this pathetic? Sure, there are injuries, but what happened to the no excuses slogan? If there really are no excuses, someone better be getting fired then.

I don't feel that I need to offer my opinion as to where I lay the lion's share of the blame, because I've made public that opinion plenty of times. All I'm saying now is that if someone doesn't lose their job over this embarrassment of a season, they'll be completely contradicting their own slogan.

Yeah there are injured players, and it's tough to deal with, but we're talking about people who get paid ridiculous amounts of money to deal with exactly that kind of problem. If they can't deal with it, sorry, but they shouldn't have that job anymore.

If you are like me and unable to simply stop watching the games, I invite you to join us at EOTP for our next happy-fun-time-habs-hockey-fest tonight against the Flames. Bring your own beer, or scotch. One of the two is recommended.