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A lack of effort in Arizona

The Canadiens old woes reared their head again, and ruined any chance of back-to-back decent performances

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Arizona Coyotes Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not entirely uncommon for a team playing on a back-to-back to struggle in their second game. Montreal not only looked like they had played the night before in Colorado, they looked like a team that had been playing all night leading into the game. Passes were missing their mark, and the defence just sort of tried when they felt like it it seemed.

Surrendering one or two odd-man rushes isn’t a cause for concern, sometimes it happens when defenders are aggressive in the offensive zone. To allow around a half dozen or more in the span of 20 minutes is utterly ridiculous. Carey Price was out an island for the entire first period, and it showed as he was visibly upset after a Clayton Keller power-play goal.

Instead of coming out better in the second, after a period where their franchise netminder was visibly frustrated by the effort in front of him, the Habs laid the largest egg possible. In 76 seconds, they were down 3-0 to a team so hapless it took them nearly a quarter of a season to win in regulation. After getting within a goal, they gave up a backbreaker not long afterward, and any positives from the game were immediately washed away by poor defensive coverage or a lack of discipline.

The loss to the Colorado Avalanche at least showed there was some fight in the Canadiens still this year, and that they were capable of outplaying their opponents. Against a bottom-feeding Arizona team, they decided that trying to keep that run of play going wasn’t in the cards. Even with some pushback late in the second period and through the beginning of the third, the damage had been done. Slow starts to periods and games, and multiple goals in a matter of seconds doomed this team all year, and last night was just the latest example.

The saving grace of this latter half of the season has been the games when Montreal has played extremely well, and fortunately for fans that’s something they had done a lot of recently. Games like last not only have no benefits, they’re an embarrassment to watch. Losing to the worst team in the NHL twice in the same year is a black mark on a season that is itself a black mark on the record of the vaunted franchise.

On the other hand, the season tank was more or less shifted into overdrive after 22 minutes of game time. So if you’re all in for Rasmus Dahlin or want the Habs to Filip the loss column for Zadina, then last night was a game for you.