Canadiens vs. Flames 10 Takeaways: Calamity in Calgary

A tired-looking Montreal Canadiens team faced the Calgary Flames on Thursday night, where only one team truly showed up.

It was a difficult game for east coast fans to stay up for, and it looked as though it was the same for the Habs themselves.

1. Calgary’s vintage  jerseys are better than their usual home kits.

When Calgary decided to change their flaming C logo from white to black, their uniforms took a more modernized direction. Call me old-school, but I still prefer the 1980’s kits. Whenever the Flames bust out their vintage alternates, especially against a storied franchise and former Stanley Cup Final opponent, it brings back endless memories. Now if only someone could grow a Lanny McDonald style mustache we’ll be all set.

2. Could there be another reason for the loss?

Torrey Mitchell was affected by the flu on Tuesday night, and when a team travels in close quarters together, a virus can spread quickly. Thursday in Calgary, the Canadiens looked sluggish and physically incapable of competing with the Flames. Keep in mind that Price was sidelined by said virus, which according to Julien is probably the same issue plaguing Mitchell. Montreal's positive offensive progress might not have been the only thing getting flushed on Thursday.

3. Sometimes nothing goes right

Whether it was an illness or simply a bad game, it's important to remember that not all games can be gems, and sometimes you have a stinker. Montreal is coming off a six-game winning streak and have shown positive signs of improvement, despite injuries to key forwards Alexander Radulov and Tomas Plekanec. Just wipe this one off the memory banks and hope for a better showing in Edmonton.

4. Montoya has had rotten luck (team doesn't play well in front of him)

Poor Al Montoya. The Calgary Flames managed to get 38 shots on net and gave Montoya a very busy night. He had little help from his defencemen, who were sloppy and often lost in all coverage situations. It was said prior to game time that the ice was not of the best quality and that could have affected the breakdown, but the end result was still a long night for the Habs' backup goaltender. Unfortunately this wasn't his first run of bad luck, as Montoya was the victim of a ten-goal devastation at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and also was between the pipes for a defence-optional game against the Winnipeg Jets in January, allowing four. The Chicagoan netminder has played better than his stats would appear, and he certainly deserved a more enjoyable fate.

5. McCarron belongs in the lineup

The small statement Marc Bergevin made on trade deadline day was that the Canadiens were going to be bigger and harder to play against. If there's a player who was drafted by Montreal and who fits that image, it's Michael McCarron. The hulking forward played a stitch more than 13 minutes and while he had a -6 even-strength Corsi ratio, that was actually on the better side of average for the Habs on Thursday night. McCarron belongs on the Canadiens' lineup, and shouldn't be an extra forward prospect. His play and use of size should place him in a permanent spot on the depth chart, above players like Dwight King or Steve Ott (for instance).

6.  Useless fighting

The extra size and toughness acquired by Marc Bergevin may come in handy during a long playoff run, as depth players to shore up any funny business. That said, there is no excuse to endanger your brain's health or someone else's, no matter how angry you are, no matter how much you need to deliver a message. Paul Byron and Steve Ott both had five minute majors for dropping the gloves, luckily both escaped serious harm. Disappointingly, neither fight had a positive impact on the team - in fact Montreal's offence slowed after Ott's fight.

7. Emelin does not belong in the lineup at the moment

The arrival of Brandon Davidson, Jordie Benn and even Nikita Nesterov before the deadline make Alexei Emelin an expendable depth piece on our back end. Emelin was by a significant gap the worst possession player against Calgary, and his partner, Jeff Petry, did not play any better. Emelin was on the ice for 19 minutes, and was scored on thrice, often left chasing his man in Montreal's end, rather than staying the ground between oncoming forwards and Al Montoya. Failing any injuries, there's really no more reason to dress Alexei Emelin on a regular basis.

8. Time to rest and recover

The Canadiens won't play again until Sunday, and then only have two games on the scedule next week. This is good news for the likes of Radulov and Plekanec, as well as any players who may be suffering from minor aches and bruises, or even the flu. More time to recover and to practice should help the Habs continue to improve. It does, however, come along with a negative.

9. The loss will stagnate like an old flatulence

After a game like Thursday's bomb, the Canadiens and their fans have to sit in the stench of the loss, a three-day layoff with a poor taste in their mouths. For the players and coaches, who are professionals, it really shouldn't affect them that much, if at all. For fans, this is uncomfortable. It has to be said the discomfort is less than it could have been if Marc Bergevin hadn't made a certain personnel change in February.


Good advice at all times, and even though this takeaway feels repetitive, it's worth being repeated: there is no cause for panic. A bad loss remains just a loss in the standings, and it could have come from a close game or it could have been a blowout, and it won't matter when the season is said and done. It doesn't even matter now. Onwards and upwards, the Habs have a couple days to recover and get ready for the Edmonton Oilers.

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