If you thought that the woes of these Montreal Canadiens were over once they finally strung together a couple of wins, well, think again. Against the absolute worst team in the entire NHL, the Detroit Red Wings, these Habs dropped a 2-1 decision at home on Saturday night.
The officiating was beyond brutal; topped off by a ridiculous slashing call that led to the eventual game-winning goal. But the Habs can’t sit around pointing their fingers at the Zebras for this particular result.
The denizens of EOTP will know that I am not one to pull punches when talking about the officials, but it is hard even for me to pin the loss on them alone. They definitely played their part, but when the Canadiens managed just one goal over THIRTY scoring chances, you have to admit that they failed to do what was necessary to get two points.
The officiating was very bad, but it should have been the difference between winning 6-1 versus winning 6-2. The Habs were shooting from everywhere, but the problem is that a lot of their shots were coming from the perimeter, making life relatively easy for Jonathan Bernier.
Credit to Bernier, because he did play a great game while facing a lot of shots. In total, Montreal sent 43 pucks his way, so you can’t ignore that he showed up in a big way. But the Habs could have given him a much more difficult night if they simply chose to move the puck laterally more often.
I don’t know what the answer is for the Habs. Not long ago, I opined that the Habs may need some help on offense, and that Taylor Hall just might be the answer to that. I might want to walk that back a little, because the problem seems more structural than anything to me at this point.
They clocked THIRTY scoring chances. They scored once. If you add an elite forward to this team, unless that man can shoot the puck better than Alex Ovechkin, I don’t see how it would change what happened on Saturday. Even during the losing streak, they had games where they deserved to win, but being unable to capitalize on chances was the difference.
Unless this team can figure out how to capitalize on the opportunities they’re generating, adding new faces isn’t guaranteed to help.