The San Jose Sharks had a few more hours to recover after their afternoon game on Saturday before taking on the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, and while that may be a convenient explanation, it doesn’t change the fact that the first 10 minutes in Sunday’s 3-1 loss sunk the Canadiens.
Montreal has had a few come-from-behind wins this season, and their attitude when they fall behind seems to have shifted from previous years. Their more aggressive style also plays into this. However, the problem is that sometimes the goaltender you run into is just on his game and when that happens, the recipe for a comeback doesn’t always work.
The best way to not need to come back is to have better starts. This team needs to be better at putting together 60 minute efforts. It’s a young team, and even the more optimistic people around the Canadiens expected a struggle to make the playoffs this season. Growing pains are to expected. But on Sunday night, a slow start doomed them. And try as they might, Martin Jones wasn’t letting them back into the game.
Montreal was once again 0/2 on the power play, and a goal on one of their opportunities clearly would have changed the outlook on the game, but that’s a whole other issue.
A lot of times early in the year it seemed like whenever the Canadiens would shoot the puck, it would go in (except Artturi Lehkonen). This recent stretch, Rangers game excepted, has been the opposite. Things always have a way of equaling out, and regression in the negative direction is never fun.
With back to back games against the Ottawa Senators coming up, it would be a good time for the percentages to turn into the Canadiens favour again. But when you’re having trouble scoring goals, falling behind is not the best thing to do.
One thing that does seem to happen this year is that this team seems to learn from its mistakes. If that trend holds, I’d expect a much better start on Tuesday.