Third-Period Giveaway Ruins Cunneyworth’s Debut

Randy Cunneyworth may be in for a rough stretch before he’s able to sleep soundly again. His first game as coach of the Montreal Canadiens goes in the books as a loss. Then he and the boys make their way to Boston on Monday to tackle a strong Bruins team. After that it’s on to Chicago to meet another of the finest in the land.

We might have to be slightly patient with the new guy. He’s not a miracle worker. Firing the old coach and elevating the assistant doesn’t automatically translate into a drastically-improved bunch. Even though we’ve seen over the years that teams can sometimes find fresh bounce in their first game under a new coach, unfortunately, it’s not the case with the Habs. What ails them can’t be fixed in this short of time. I think David Copperfield should’ve been hired.

Once again, the Canadiens allowed a game to slip away, and two points to go up in smoke. The New Jersey Devils outscored Montreal 5-3, and ruined Cunneyworth’s debut, and our giddy expectations of a newly-coached team picking it up a notch ran into a sign post.

P.K.Subban scored a power play goal to tie the game at one, and the goal was unique in a couple of ways. It was only the second goal of the year for P.K, and when it happened, he reacted the complete opposite of what we’ve seen from the young fellow. Instead of the sometimes-criticized ultra-enthusiastic celebration of a goal, P.K. had no reaction whatsoever. He just kind of stood there.

Maybe he was shocked. Regardless, I thought it was cool, and slightly unusual.

Erik Cole was in a bad mood tonight, taking three minor penalties, and the Devils capitalized once while he was paying for his sins. Chris Campoli scored his first of the year to tie the game at two, but Campoli also had the puck stripped from him while attempting to carry it out of his own end, which led to New Jersey’s winning goal, and the cheers he heard in the second period turned to moans in the third. I know I moaned.

We had tied it twice, then went ahead 3-2 on a Lars Eller goal, then allowed New Jersey to score three times and ice it. I moaned some more.

All in all, there wasn’t much difference between a Jacques Martin-coached team, and a Randy Cunneyworth-coached team, at least on this night. But what are you going to do when once again, the underachievers underachieved.

And maybe I’m wrong when I say we have to be patient. Maybe now that the coach is gone, we can shout loud and clear that we need to change some on-ice personnel. Out with some old, in with some new. This team needs to be bigger, and way more consistent than the core we’ve got now.

Random Notes:

Montreal’s power play was 1 for 4 on this night, which is better than the 1-9 they managed against Philadelphia. But it still sucks.

Hal Gill had two assists. This makes three points in three games for the big fellow. Some remain silent, but Gill carries on.

Shots on goal – NJ 35, Habs 26.

Boston on Monday, Chicago on Wednesday.

16 thoughts on “Third-Period Giveaway Ruins Cunneyworth’s Debut”

  1. What will be interesting to see is what happens with Cole. He’ll probably get suspended. However, Lucic got ejected last night and Phaneuf the night before, so let’s see what happens. I say Cole gets 3 games, Lucic a fine and Phaneuf 1 game.

    Once again our third period was terrible. I don’t know why this keeps happening but it’s like they need to be constantly reminded that there are three periods in a game. Our top line didn’t look very hot and I don’t know what Cole was doing. That was his worst game in quite a while.

    I’ll give them a pass for last night since it’s a new coach and they were probably all over the place and confused since they were so used to the Duke of Dull.

  2. Well Dennis I have to admit I am thrilled with the firing of JM. The games had become a joke. I don’t often get to watch the games prefering to listen to them instead but the ones I would get to see were total no shows for the Habs. Last year and more-so this year it had become boring hockey. On paper this should be an exciting uptempo hockey team. It was the total opposite.
    I have been impressed with DD centering MaxPac and Cole. It shows what size and heart can do and is an example of why we need some bigger players on this team. With JM gone the next thing to change is having Gomez on the roster and I think that is part of the plan. DD may not be perfect but he is young and learning and doesn’t cost 7+ million per year. Cammi is a scorer who isn’t scoring and despite the rumours that he may be injured or isn’t fully healed from his injuries the fact is he isn’t scoring and hasn’t really thru last year as well. On top of that he is weak defensively and to soft. Pleks like DD needs some size and muscle on his line. He needs someone to crash the net and not play so much on the perimeter. The defence needs another bruiser. It was playing better D with the youngsters than it has been since the return of Campoli. Diaz getting healthy again would be a boost to the team. Overall the coach needs time to make the changes required but I see a change in the Habs in the way they are looking at things from the top down. I think Mr. Molson is patient but he wants success and he will make the neccesary moves to make this team entertaining again.All it is going to take is more time.

  3. I was glad to see mentioned on HNIC that the league will introduce thinner shoulder pads next year with the need for even thinner in the future. Much of these high speed shoulder hits would be eliminated also with the return of the red line.. It has been a part of hockey for decades…
    I will tell you that those hits by Matt Cooke would “not” have occurred in the 1960’s and early 70’s because Cooke being the coward he is would have been worried about equal damage to himself in a high speed collision.. Can you imagine Cooke trying that on a Serge Savard/Larry Robinson or Mad Dog Kelly in the 70’s….

  4. Dennis, a New Jersey sports writer, Tom Gulitti, is reporting that Erik Cole will not receive a suspension from the league for his hit on NJ Devils Adam Larsson last night.

    All this is unofficial. So take it with a grain of salt.

    ———————————–

    TGfireandice Tom Gulitti
    No hearing doesn’t mean NHL didn’t look at the play very closely. It did. It always does.
    1 hour ago Favorite Retweet Reply
    Tom Gulitti
    TGfireandice Tom Gulitti
    Though head was principal point of contact, it has to be clear that head was intended target too.
    1 hour ago
    Tom Gulitti
    TGfireandice Tom Gulitti
    Not official that there’s definitely no supplementary discipline coming for Cole, but it’s very much looking like that will be case.
    1 hour ago
    »
    Tom Gulitti
    TGfireandice Tom Gulitti
    Hearing that there is no hearing planned by NHL Player Safety dept. for Erik Cole’s hit on Adam Larsson last night.

  5. Darth, I thought the guy had his head down low and Cole couldn’t avoid it. I don’t think he should be suspended for this.

  6. Don, I’m still mad at Bob Gainey. He’s such a thinking man, so what was he thinking when he brought in all these small guys and took the Gomez contract? It just doesn’t seem Gainey-like. And absolutely, this team needs to become more entertaining.

  7. I hope they wake up, Denis. And by the way, your Emelin has been a nice addition and I love his big checks.

  8. Hey Dennis,Ok I will,as Darth says,give them a pass on this one.I wasnt impressed by the Habs last nite,well maybe a litle but not to much.The game didnt feature the usual boring trap that the Devils are known for,Carey Price played average as did the rest of the guys,next game the ticker starts.

  9. New person giving directions, same destination. That said, I don’t think this game gave Cunneyworth enough time to provide any new directions. We’re off on our annual Christmas road trip while a different circus takes over the Bell Centre. This should give him time to make the team his. I expect at least 4 wins on this 6 game trip.

    Another test for Shanahan’s impartiality will be the Lucic hit. Will a dangerous hit from behind result in a suspension or will the Bruins continue to be exempt from the same rules as everyone else? Not suspending him will clear him for more cheap shots against the Canadiens on Monday.

  10. Renaud Lavoi from RDS is also reporting no supplementary discipline is expected for Erik Cole.

    However, Milan Lucic has a phone hearing with Shanahan and may miss Monday’s game against the Habs pending Shanahan’s decision on his hit from behind on Flyers’ player Zac Rinaldo:

  11. Danno, I really didn’t think it was a suspension-type hit, although it could have caused some damage. The guy sort of put his head down and Cole had nowhere else to go. Pretty soon players aren’t going to want to hit at all.

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