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.
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.