By now, most have seen the last New York Islanders goal that won them the game versus the Montreal Canadiens with a few minutes to go. It turned the tide in what was still very much a winnable contest for Montreal, or at least prevented them from getting a very important point in this hard-fought race to the playoffs.
The Canadiens have earned their success by staying close to their identity this season. That last play was a good example of them straying away from it. They lacked involvement, communication, and failed to support each other. And it cost them a lot.
There is no reason to blame only a single player for the goal. Jonathan Drouin has not been scoring recently, but just because he was involved in the turnover doesn’t automatically make the end result his fault. He did make one of his trademark blind, behind-the-back passes, but it was quite reasonable for him to expect Max Domi to have taken position where the puck ended up, instead sliding through untouched.
But it was more on the following loose puck that chaos ensued. Domi and Brett Kulak didn’t read off each other properly and the Islanders counter-attacked with a lot of space to make plays; a nightmare for the remaining defender, Jeff Petry.
Added to that, the puck didn’t end up on the stick of an average player after the turnover. Mathew Barzal was the one with possession. It would have taken a pretty big misplay from Barzal for that amazing scoring chance to not end up in a goal. You can’t afford to give that kind of time to such an elite offensive player.
Here’s the full breakdown of the goal, with freeze frames and text inserts (and without sound). Montreal still made a few good plays in that sequence, but one (big) mental lapse was enough to leave them frozen in the standings.