Ten takeaways from the Canadiens vs Panthers game: Florida completes the season sweep
Mike Condon let in a weak one only ten seconds into the game, and that was a sign of things to come. Montreal lost 4-1 despite a strong effort.
1. Barkov is a Hab killer
In four games against Montreal, Barkov has six goals and three assists. He joins Jean-Gabriel Pageau on the list of players the Habs would rather not play against too often. He scored two goals against Montreal on Saturday, including the game-winner with 29 seconds remaining. On Tuesday, he scored ten seconds into the game.
2. John Scott's callup was planned a while ago
John Scott shirseys were on sale at Tricolore Sports, indicating the team had planned for this at least long enough ago to have to shirts done on time for sale. It was the last game of his season, as the Michigan native heads home to his family after being given the choice by the Canadiens. It might also have been his final NHL game, as Scott discussed the possibility of retirement in the offseason.
Some of the commentary in the Sportsnet broadcast verged on patronizing, but at least the story has a happy ending, contrived or not.
3. The effort was there
After Barkov's deflating goal to open the scoring, Montreal went on a shooting spree, getting 12 of the next 14 shots of the game. They outshot Florida 33-19 and spent a lot of the game in Panthers territory.
4. Mike Condon had a bad game
All four of Florida's goals should have been stopped. Condon didn't always have strong support in front of him to help out, but any NHL netminder would want to have those back.
It's got to hurt getting scored on during the opening shift, but the same guy who closed out the last game on you in the final minute. Condon also allowed Bjugstad's go-ahead score in with only 13 seconds left in the second period. Those first and last minute goals are demoralizing. Every goalie has a bad game once in a while and this was one for Condon.
5. When will we see you again, Carey?
If you believe that Charlie Lindgren will get a start in Carolina, it's reasonable to believe Condon will be his backup. Carey Price might make a return to the lineup in the final game of the season at home on Saturday night. If both Lindgren and Price have solid performances, Condon will have ended his season with Tuesday's stinker against the Panthers, and he will have to fight for a spot come training camp.
6. Montreal misses P.K. Subban
P.K. has missed the last twelve games since his frightening neck injury on March 10th. In that span, Montreal has lost eight games, all in regulation, while giving up four or more goals in each of them. The powerplay was never good this year, but it's infinitely worse without Subban on the blue line. Whether he comes back at this point or not is meaningless, but it's a lot less fun to watch these games without him on the ice.
7. Roberto Luongo got a monkey off his back
This season marked the first time Roberto Luongo had a convincing series of regular season games against his hometown team, winning all three games he started against the Canadiens.
The last time he had a winning record against the Habs was in the 2006/07 season when he was a Vancouver Canuck. The last season he collected multiple wins against Montreal was in 2003/04 in his first stint as a Panther. That year he had two wins, no losses and a tie against the Habs. Remember tied games?
8. The Canadiens have a real first line!
The Habs deployed Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher together for the second straight game, and once again they looked dangerous. The captain is showing us that he isn't just a goal-scorer, he has excellent playmaking abilities as well.
He set up Galchenyuk on his 28th goal of the season, and the assist was Pacioretty's 32nd, which ties his career-high for helpers. Gallagher scored his second point in as many games since returning from a lower-body injury. Together, this trio is not only Montreal's best line but should compete to be one of the most dangerous three-man units in the league if they all stay healthy next year.
9. Gally has Hart
Did I say Hart? I meant heart. This player is giving everything he has in a meaningless game during a lost season. He's playing like his life depends on his effort levels, and he's rubbing off on players like Daniel Carr. Gally had all three of Montreal's first period high-danger scoring chances and finished the game with seven shots on net.
Say what you will about Price's injury having sunk the Canadiens' season, it wasn't until Gallagher broke his hand in a game against the Islanders on November 22nd that the Habs started to nosedive. Price may be the best hockey player in the world, but Gallagher is the heart and soul of the team's offence.
10. Things have been pretty bad since the Habs won the Cup in '93
Soul-crushing stat of the night: with Montreal's loss on Tuesday, they now have no hope of getting a better than .500% points percentage this year. This is the seventh time in the last twenty seasons Montreal settles for a losing (or even) record. In the 51 seasons prior it only happened three times.
Two games left, everyone. It would be nice to pack it in and go home, but we're not NHL All Star Game MVP John Scott.
Two more games and we can call it a season and start the clock on what has to be a busy offseason for GM Marc Bergevin. If it's not a successful one, next year is going to be ugly.