Three’s Plenty

For the third straight game, the Canadiens looked tremendously ordinary and the starting goalie was pulled.

So much for my previous pep talk.

A total of eighteen pucks have found their way behind our two netminders during this three-game stretch, with last night being a 6-4 loss at the hands of the home town Pittsburgh Penguins, and the team in general is in disarray. It’s time to stop this nonsense.

Let’s write these three games off and forget they ever happened. It’s better this way.

Peter Budaj relieved Carey Price against Toronto and Philly, and last night in Pittsburgh, Price came on in relief of Budaj. It’s just an overall depressing time. But it’s not all on the goalies. Many of the forwards are stuck in neutral and the defence, aside from our Norris Trophy guy, is less than formidable.

Visions of Alexei Emelin crashing and blasting dance in my head.

A huge dimension is missing with the big Russian on the sidelines. Toughness and scaring the bejeesus out of puck carriers won’t be found in the likes of Davis Drewicke and Yannick Weber and most of the blueline corps, but we could always rely on Emelin to rattle some bones.

Guys are floundering and sloppy with the puck. They’re being outmuscled and outskated, and when you combine all of that with less than stellar goaltending, it’s a recipe for hockey fan depression.

Raphael Diaz is apparently close to returning, which should help, and maybe even recreate some of the old Diaz/Markov power play magic we saw in the beginning. Diaz will be a sight for sore eyes, but he’s missed the last 24 games so it might be tough in the beginning.

As long as he gets back.

It’s also weird to treat Diaz like the coming Messiah. But it’s grasping at straws and hoping he makes a big difference, whenever he shows up.

Pittsburgh beat Budaj three time on nine shots in the first period, and that was it for our backup who has been fine up until recently. Carey Price in relief allowed the other three goals on twenty shots over two periods, and at times looked shaky and other times not bad. He seemed a tad better than the past two games, if that’s any consolation.

P.K. Subban found himself in a scrap with Brenden Morrow, and if I can throw my two cents in, I’d say to P.K. that this summer, instead of being a weatherman and a media darling, take some boxing lessons instead. It’s the one thing lacking in his game. He’s a lousy fighter.

Random Notes:

Habs outshot Pittsburgh 35-29.

Gabriel Dumont notched his first NHL goal, and other scorers included Brian Gionta, (which I don’t get to say very often); Alex Galchenyuk; and Andrei Markov. Galchenyuk has such a great wrist shot, and he fired a beauty into the top corner past Marc-Andre Fleury.

So there were a couple of good things about tonight. Not many, but it’s better than none.

Now it’s back home for a meeting tonight against Tampa Bay.

21 thoughts on “Three’s Plenty”

  1. I think, at this point, it’s fair to be concerned about this team. It was blown out by Philadelphia and Toronto, and last night’s game was not as close as the 6-4 score. Keep in mind, this was a Pittsburgh team which was without Sydney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, and yet Montreal was not even competitive in the least.

    I will admit, I’ve always been a “No, the glass is not half empty, I don’t even have a glass” kind of guy, but I would think that even the most optimistic of fans has to be worried by what we’ve seen out of the Habs for the past week.

  2. Nope. Not worried yet.

    Not even worried if they go out in four in the first round. Even if it’s to the Leafs. It’s a work in progress and this is all good data for coach and GM.

    Slumps happen to every team and it will be interesting to see if we have the horses to break out of this one.

  3. The loss against Pittsburgh last night was not as bad as the loss against the Flyers and Leafs. Sure, Pittsburgh didn’t have Crosby, Neal and Malkin but that’s no reason to say that we could have beat them. They also have Iginla now, Jokinen and Morrow…not to mention Letang! They are a solid team with or without the superstars who are missing.
    The last games we faced against the Pens, Malkin, Neal and Crosby played, and we came awfully close to beating them.

    I think losing to the Leafs hurt their confidence and they remained in a daze since. They will bounce back! Remember last year when the Bruins beat us 6-0? Then next few games were a disaster. You may say the whole season was a disaster, true, but in particular were the games that followed that humiliation. I think we all know the feeling. The CH needs to realize that they are serious contenders; they made the playoffs! It’s a confidence thing at this point.

    We definitely don’t have the intensity in the forwards, Gorges is slipping a little, Markov is without his comrade, and Price…Price needs to act more desperate. And stay solid in FRONT of the net.

    Things will turn around. I believe!

  4. Also, I think Fleury is a great goalkeeper. I watched a game between the Pens and Rangers about a month ago and the guy was brilliant in net. Sometimes it’s just that there is a better team.

    Personally I would see him representing Team Canada before Price.

  5. Fleury is wildly inconsistent. He can either be brilliant, as he was in 2008 or 2009, or beyond awful, as he was in 2010 and again last year.

  6. Wildly inconsistent can be applied to Price as well. I think Fleury has the inside track for Team Canada’s starting goalie. Price and any Canadian goalie who goes far in the play-offs are also in the running.

    Of the three losses, this was the most bearable as they are still a good team even without their key players. The loss to the Flyers who have no defence or goaltending was the worst. Losing to the Leafs is mostly about our pride.

  7. I think this is the time where leadership in the room needs to take over. They need to have a team meeting and try to get everyone going here.

    I like Gionta but sometimes I get the impression that he’s a floater Captain. I may be wrong but he needs to rally the troops because something is pretty screwed up here. I won’t panic just yet, this may be a bump in the road but it’s getting tiresome.

    3 losses in a row sucks but they can be “liveable” but 3 losses like this? Terrible. They need to really get their act together or they’re going to be swept in the 1st round.

    It’s like they’ve completely lost their game plan. As much as I love Emelin, he wasn’t the rock to this team. Since he’s been gone it’s been downhill. Something is really screwy here.

  8. I’m concerned, Ian. The intensity is missing, and so is a certain toughness and fire. And then there’s the goaltending and size and the power play etc. But we see this sort of thing every year and usually a team will come out of it at some point. Tonight’s game will be extremely interesting to see how they perform. If they’re flat, it’s going to be beyond depressing.

  9. Just a different looking bunch right now, V. But you’re right, slumps happen, and tonight they have to rebound in a big way. It would be nice to get some outstanding goaltending too.

  10. Things can sometimes really snowball, Marjo, and it’s up to the players to find away out of it. This is where a great captain can help, and I’m not convinced that Gionta is a great captain. You’re right – it’s a confidence thing, and we need some guys to get going again and get the confidence rolling. If this goes on much longer we’re going to forget all the great things that have happened this year.

  11. Christopher, for a while, many TV guys were saying Price would be the guy for Team Canada, but that probably has changed now. For the time being at least, Price has somehow lost his game. It’s weird in a way. Maybe he gets burned out, but whatever the reason, he’d better hurry up and find it again.

  12. Darth, I’ve never been truly convinced that Gionta was the right man for captain. I’ve always had this feeling and nothing he has done over the past few years has made me change my thinking. Of course I’m not in the room so I could be way out in left field about this.
    The team needs to regroup and make us proud. can they do it? It’s up to them because they’ve shown they can.

  13. The concern I have is that this season seems to be mirroring, unfortunately, the 2008-2009 season, in which Montreal played very well for about 3/4 of the season, was a top five team in the league, and then collapsed completely in the last quarter before being swept by the Boston Bruins. The issues were similar–seemingly soft play in the defensive zone, spotty play from Carey Price, and what seemed to be a lack of intestinal fortitude among some of the players. Obviously, this does not apply to all of the players on the current team, but there is some overlap, and the similarities are unhappily present. I hope that I’m wrong, but worry that I’m right.

  14. Ian, I agree, and we can only hope that it’s not the case at all and they come back strong. Maybe even beginning tonight.

  15. I want to see them string together three or four good games, starting with tonight, as time is rapidly running out. Montreal is a below .500 team for the last 13 games (6-7).

  16. I’m not giving up on them. Didn’t give up when they were left standing with the Flyers and Black Hawks 3 years ago, not about to give up now. I get down like all of us do, but I won’t give up.

    Go.Habs.Go.

  17. “When “if’s” and “buts” are candy and spice, wouldn’t we all be sweet and nice” —-’ole # 22 Fergy–WE SUCK!!! You don’t put Prust out on a new line on opening faceoff to START a fight w/Leafs!!!!!! It’s been crap from then on. I like Prust but where’s the Moen-er. Can no one find some pride–the 2 rookies can’t do it all. BUT Bergevin NEVER promised us a cup; we were just too hungry as fans. He’ll clean the room when the times right by what needs cleaning.

  18. Me either, Marjo. I’ll never give up on them. I’ll get angry at them, but I’ll always believe they can do it. It’s been that way forever.

  19. Peter Hab, they’re going through a tough time but they’ll be back, and we’ll be as proud of them now as we were then. They’ve clinched, they’re relaxing, they need to adjust to losing Emelin, and Diaz is returning soon. They’ve lost their game and will find it soon.

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