Bottom Six Minutes: Shoot the damn puck

Sometimes you should take what the opposition gives you instead of making several more passes.

The Montreal Canadiens may have dominated five-on-five play against the San Jose Sharks from a possession standpoint on Tuesday night, but it didn’t matter. They went scoreless at even strength — and on six power play attempts — en route to being shut out 4-0 and putting an end to their two-game winning streak.

If they’d have just shot the damn puck a little more, maybe it would be a three-game winning streak.

Natural Stat Trick paints a bleak picture for last night’s effort at five-on-four for the power play. In over 10 minutes of ice time, they managed just 12 attempts at goal, only four of those attempts being on target, and a whopping one high-danger scoring chance from all that. A comically bad effort, and that even takes out the short five-on-three that they had to start the third period.

Sometimes, you need to stop trying so hard to find the perfect shot, and just take what the opposition is giving you.

At least, I suppose, the coaching staff is aware of the problem.

The power play won’t improve until they can take some of Martin St-Louis’s logic above and really apply it on the ice. It has been an issue for some time, and every time they get a goal that seems like maybe it could spark some progress, they’re right back in a zero-for-six situation like they were last nigh.

But perhaps more problematically, they had similar issues at even strength. Though they dominated possession by a wide margin, they mustered only 24 shots, most of which weren’t high quality when they could manage to hit the net. It looked somewhat similar to the power play; too many passes, not enough simple pucks on net.

On a positive note, they did have that domination on the possession front. What that is worth against a basement-dweller like the Sharks is perhaps less fun to discuss, but it did prove they can control the game at even strength against an inferior opponent.

Hopefully this becomes a teachable moment for the team, because losses don’t matter this year, but losses in which they don’t score at all are quite difficult to watch.

Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available on your podcast platform of choice. We’ll be a little later than usual next time, as the Habs will hit the road and meet the Calgary Flames next for a 9PM EST start this Thursday.

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