There is something amiss in the state of the Montreal Canadiens, once again the team falls behind early and this season the Canadiens have trouble coming back when they get scored on first. The team is 1-4-4 after falling behind (and we know Montreal’s results in overtime and the shootout). The number is worse, 1-5-0, if they trail going into the last stanza. One thing is clear; the team lacks confidence right now.
It seems that there is no Plan B; the system that was implemented under Claude Julien is still the one being relied on by the players under Dominique Ducharme, who hasn’t had the chance to really implement his own system just yet with the team being in the midst of a busy schedule, and on an extended road trip which limits the practice opportunities.
When Montreal falls behind, the discord between the different parts of the team seems to be extended. There is no harmony and one is looking to himself first and foremost, trying to limit his own mistakes to keep the deficit from growing. Players take “alibi” routes, following a set script of how the breakout should happen, they don’t seem to have the confidence to look for their own solutions to a problem.
Ducharme can change this with his coaching team, but it is becoming urgent, and the week at home after this road trip will provide the perfect opportunity. The question is will it be too late, as Calgary is closing the gap to the fourth spot in the table fast.
Confidence comes from winning, and it is up to the coach to facilitate that. The team needs to be able to turn a game around, be it from five minutes in as was the case last night, or going into the last 20 minutes behind by a goal, the team needs to have confidence in its own ability, and play as a unit.
Last night showed that the team possesess neither of those qualities at the moment, and the coach will need to find the keys to this as soon as possible while the Canadiens are still in control of their own playoff destiny.