Saturday night saw the Montreal Canadiens suffer another blowout loss on home ice, this time at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers. As embarrassing as a 7-2 final score is, it was amazingly not the most embarrassing thing that happened on the night.
Zack Kassian took a run at Samuel Montembeault in the second period, and there was zero response from the Canadiens.
Kassian sure is a man for running a goaltender who has already allowed 5 goals... pic.twitter.com/QkM32QQGhK— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) January 30, 2022
This is predatory. There is maybe a foot of space between Montembeault and the boards, so it is quite clearly intentional from Kassian, unless he intends to argue that he thought his frame could fit in that gap. In a game that was already 5-1 for his team, it’s unacceptable, and the non-reaction from the Habs on the ice is completely embarrassing.
This is a situation that warrants an immediate answer from anyone available, and the five Canadiens who were there did precisely nothing. They did score on the ensuing power play, but it was cold comfort given that the Oilers went down the ice and made it 6-2 before the Tyler Toffoli marker was even announced.
They still had a chance, however slim, of making a comeback in that game after the hit. By the time Michael Pezzetta made an effort to respond to the hit in the third period, the score was 6-2, and that slim chance was gone with only five minutes to play.
"Looking back at it, I didn't see the hit, I just saw Monty go down... Replaying it in my head, I should have gotten in his face and that's something that's on me and the other guys on the ice to stand up for our teammates" - Jeff Petry on the Zack Kassian hit #Habs— Jared Book (@jaredbook) January 30, 2022
I suppose it’s a good thing that they’re at least aware of their failure. But it speaks to the malignant apathy affecting this team — they know this is something they should answer, but can’t bring themselves to actually do it.
Montembeault has admirably held the fort for the Habs in front of porous defensive zone coverage, standing tall while facing 50-plus shots in multiple games. This was far from his best effort — a few of the goals were ones he should want back — but he deserves better from his teammates.
He deserves for them to have his back, and not wait until the dying minutes of the third period he spent on the bench after being mercifully pulled.
Carey Price was also in attendance for this game. Should his takeaway be that if and when he returns from injury, other teams can run him with impunity? That if his team comes to his defence at all, they’ll leave it to the dying minutes of a game well in hand for the opposition? If I were him, I’d be in no rush to return after watching that display.
They don’t seem to care anymore, so why should their goaltenders that they’re hanging out to dry every night?
Eh ben... Click the play button below to listen to a rather heated edition of the Bottom Six Minutes, which is also available on your podcast platform of choice, and will return after tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.