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Canadiens vs. Kings 5 Takeaways: Gone with the wind

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The Canadiens may say they aren’t a fragile team but they sure looked like one in their 4-0 loss

Los Angeles Kings v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

1. The Canadiens did some things right

It’s easy to forget after the end of the first period, but for most of the first period what struck me was that every line the Canadiens put out there was able to look dangerous. That’s the dynamic the team has since calling up Nikita Scherbak. Putting Alex Galchenyuk with Torrey Mitchell or Jacob de la Rose doesn’t make sense. Adding Scherbak and Michael McCarron to the mix makes it a dangerous fourth line.

Whenever Tomas Plekanec plays with Charles Hudon, it’s like the fountain of youth consumes him. Jonathan Drouin is really, really good, and Max Pacioretty is looking dangerous, even if the pucks aren’t going in.

The Canadiens don’t have a real game breaker top line, so their best bet is to spread the offence. They have the depth to do it, and most nights it should work. The first 18 minutes of the first period showed that.

2. The Canadiens start isn’t as bad as it appears

It’s a bad start to the season, I’m not saying it isn’t. But let’s look at the big picture. Before the season started, you would expect them to pick up wins against Buffalo and Florida (they did). The trip to California is always a nightmare, so although it would have been nice to pick up a win out there, you can’t expect it. Losing to Chicago and Washington is understandable, just like losing to the red-hot Kings (8-1-1 this season) at home.

That leaves the games against Toronto and the New York Rangers. Two games the Canadiens outplayed and outshot their opponents only to end up on the wrong side.

That just so happens to be the entirety Canadiens schedule so far this season. Even with historically low shooting percentages, the Habs aren’t far off from what we would have expected going into the season.

The October schedule was full of tough games for the Canadiens, and they end it with two winnable games against the Rangers and Ottawa Senators. Sure, it would have been nice for the Habs to pick up a few more wins, but their schedule only gets easier from here. Their shooting and save percentages should get better, too.

This team has flaws, don’t get me wrong, but put this 10 game stretch anywhere else in the season, and you probably just shrug it off.

3. The Canadiens say they aren’t fragile, but they sure look it

Now I’m not trying to analyze the psyche of the Canadiens. I’m not a doctor, and even if I was, I’m not their doctor. The Canadiens probably could have survived the Adrian Kempe goal at the end of the first period. But having Tyler Toffoli score 12 seconds later, you just felt like they weren’t coming back from that.

They had their opportunities. They had three power play opportunities to get within one goal, including two in the first four minutes of the period and couldn’t get one. If they could have, it would have been huge for the momentum, but then, Anze Kopitar’s shot went in, and the rest was history.

4. Jonathan Drouin will make fans forget about Mikhail Sergachev

As soon as the trade happened, I felt as though both Canadiens and Lightning fans would both have points where they love and they hate the trade. I always felt like it was an even trade, and watching Drouin play, I feel even more like that.

He’s a really, really gifted offensive talent. People like to look at Sergachev’s numbers and wonder what he would be like on a Montreal defence that looks bad at times. But what would the team look like without Drouin? Remember he does lead the team in points and I don’t think Sergachev would improve the Canadiens shooting percentages on his own.

The results of the two teams makes the trade look worse right now, but don’t let that fool you. This team is not where they are because of that trade.

5. Giving Carey Price a bronx cheer made me laugh, but it’s not funny

Whenever people say that Montreal hockey fans are the smartest in hockey, I laugh. I laugh because it’s just not true. Giving Carey Price a bronx cheer after he stops a clearing attempt or a shot from beyond the blue line is acting emotionally at best, misguided at worst.

We can disagree about putting the blame on players like Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk. But no one should be taking it out on Carey Price

Habs fans are very passionate. I get that you’re frustrated. Of course it’s frustrating. Boo all you want. You pay really good money to watch games at the Bell Centre, and you don’t have many ways to let Geoff Molson know how you feel. But mocking Carey Price? That’s what you choose to do? And then you wonder why players don’t want to play here...

If there’s anyone who should be allowed to slump, it’s Price. And before you say that a player making $10 million shouldn’t slump, let me remind you that he only starts making that next season.

There is literally no player I expect to turn around this season more than Price. You know, the guy who saved several seasons on his own, and whose injury literally tanked another one? Yeah, let’s blame him.

His reaction was good, but we shouldn’t even be at this point. But then again, Habs fans did the same thing to Patrick Roy...