Mike Condon has had a lot of great nights lately. Saturday wasn’t one of them.
Against the visiting Colorado Avalanche, Condon allowed four goals on eleven shots during his two periods of work before being yanked for Dustin Tokarski in the third, who himself let in two more in this 6-1 debacle at the Bell.
And to make matters worse, the Canadiens had plenty of chances and fired 40 shots at Swedish goaltender Reto Berra. But when all was said and done, the Swede was sharp and the Montreal backups played like backups.
It just wasn’t Condon’s night, his first true bummer of an outing, and it began early, after both Jeff Petry and Max Pacioretty blew glorious chances, when Mikhail Grigorenko sneaked one through Condon’s legs just 3:26 into the contest.
With 1:22 left in the first, Petry turned the puck over to Nathan Mackinnon, who fired past Condon, and just 13 seconds later, it was MacKinnon once again, with a backhand that Condon probably should’ve stopped because it seemed he wasn’t set properly.
There we go again. Early and late period goals. It just seems so Wednesday-like, when they lost to Pittsburgh after being scored on 13 seconds into the first period and again with just 44 seconds remaining.
Their opening and closing habits might need a few tweaks.
In the second period, Brendan Gallagher chipped in a Tomas Plekanec pass from behind the net, and hope reigned supreme. For a few minutes at least.
A game to be had, until Andrei Markov, on a Habs power play, told P.K. Subban to grab the puck at the blueline, and P.K. told Markov to grab the puck at the blueline, which led to no one grabbing the puck at the blueline.
Except Blake Comeau, who took advantage of the black comedy and sent the puck through the backstopper’s legs after skating in home free.
This embarrassing and momentum-killing shorthanded goal would see a 4-1 game at that point and spell the end of Condon’s night and his incredible run as saviour while Carey Price is on the mend.
The Markov/Subban lack of communication sequence is not something we want Habs haters to take and run with and plaster all over Facebook pages. Not something we ever want to see again. So let’s never mention it.
At the other end of the rink, Avs goaltender Berra thwarted plenty of splendid home team chances, and good for him I guess. It’ll be something he can tell his grandchildren someday when back in the old country. How, when he was playing overseas in Canada, he stoned the team that seven months later would win the Stanley Cup.
All in all, the Habs should’ve beaten this guy several times. They also shouldn’t have been scored on shorthanded, shouldn’t have had a blueline brain fart, and shouldn’t have had their backup goalie come crashing back to earth after being the talk of the hockey world, and the league’s third star last week.
Condon might have been fine if the boys would’ve cashed in early once or twice. But they didn’t and he wasn’t.
If a backup played like a first stringer all the time, he wouldn’t be a backup. Poor play once in a while is to be expected. Poor play too often means you’re Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski or Alex Auld and you don’t have the job anymore.
Now Condon needs to regroup and hang in there just a little bit longer, as Price seems closer to being up and at ’em.
We need a serious regrouping on Monday when the Vancouver Canucks stop by to say hello. And keep in mind, not only is this loss the team’s second straight, but they’ve dropped five of their last nine.
Those nine straight wins were so nice. I miss that.