Carey Price put the game in context:
“We can’t moan and groan about it for five days,” the goaltender said. “That’s just not healthy.”
In the interest of mental health (I think that’s what Price was talking about), I’ll stop all the caterwauling of Quick Hits and try to be positive.
It’s not working.
That was a bad loss.
But it came against a good team – arguably the NHL’s best, and the only legitiate arguments, at this stage of the season, are from Vancouver and maybe Pittsburgh, if/when Sidney Crosby returns.
Give a team like the Flyers four minutes of 5-on-3 and bad things will happen.
Which they did.
It would have been nice to go into the All-Star break with some positive energy and momentum, but Philadelphia has become the Canadiens nemesis: Two decisive playoff losses over the last three seasons, back to back losses (the second by a 6-2 score, in the Bell Centre) just before the Olympic break last year and, this season, three loses in four games.
Maybe you need more than speed and skill to beat these guys. The Canadiens made the Flyers look slow, on some shifts, through the early part of the first period last night, and it looked like we were in for a competitive game.
Then the penalty parade began. And you can’t give a team that good that many chances.
The Canadiens are in seventh place, two points back of the sixth-place Rangers, with two games in hand.
Frequent Commenter MathMan thinks the playoffs are lock:
Can we please ditch the “Habs are life and death to
make the playoffs” fable already? The Habs are headed for an 98-point
season even counting this loss, and the team has played significantly
better than that for most of the year. They’ve re-created a large gap
between themselves and the 9th place, barring a collapse from which no
team is immune but which remains unlikely, the Habs should make the
playoffs pretty comfortably, around the 5th or 6th spot. 3rd place
remains a possibility — I still think Montreal is, ultimately, a better
team than Boston, but making up any kind of deficit at this point will
Coming out of the Olympic break last season, the Canadiens won at Boston, lost in San Jose and then reeled off six straight wins.
Maybe they’ll enjoy similar success in February. But the month begins three consecutive sets of back-to-back games: at Washington/Florida, Rangers/New Jersey at the Bell Centre for afternoon games on Super Bowl weekend and at Boston/home to Islanders.
Eight of the Canadiens 13 games in February are at home. There’s at least the chance to amass some points an sew up the postseason spot that MathMan says is a lock.
That post-Olympic win streak last season came with Jaro Halak in nets. Carey Price is fully capable of getting that hot, but he’ll need better support than he got last night.
The Canadiens couldn’t do much about that tic-tac-toe power-play goal by Claude Giroux. He’s a great player, and great players do that.
The goal I found irksome was the one that opened the scoring. Jeff Carter beat Price from close-in, almost an exact copy of the goal Corey Perry scored for Anaheim.
The Canadiens don’t have a big, physical defenceman to keep Price’s kitchen clear. And it’s not like Pierre Gauthier is going to acquire a Chris Pronger or Zdeno Chara before the trade deadline.
Should the Canadiens’ GM make a move to solidify the team’s playoff chances?
I’d be cautious. Teams like Ottawa, which will be having fire sales, are going to be asking about Lars Eller, Max Pacioretty and first-round draft choices.
You might sacrifice youth and the future for a bona-fide run at the Stanley Cup.
But I don’t think any available player – not even Mike Fisher or Jarome Iginla – would elevate the Canadiens to the level of the Flyers and Canucks.
The goal should be getting into the postseason and seeing what a hot goaltender and disciplined system can accomplish. Unless a losing streak puts the playoffs in jeopardy, I can’t see Gauthier doing anything dramatic.
If The Dance started today, the Canadiens would be in the door and swingin’ their partner.
So let’s take the goaltender’s advice and chill out till next week.
• • •
Guest Comment from Displaced:
We’ve been .500 (10-10-3) since December 4. That
means, it’s a good time to play “glass half full/glass half empty”, the
game show that dares to ask, how good are we really? The winner gets a
Stanley Cup champion the loser, gets a pink slip and some nasty parting
Half Full: Considering
that .500 stretch includes the brutal December road losing streak and
bad run of injuries to key players, that’s not bad. If we play .500 the
rest of the way, we end the year 41-32-9, good for 91 points. That’s 3
points better than last year and likely in the playoffs and would have
been good for 6th last season. A resurgent PP, improved production from
Gomez, PK and additions like Patches, DD, Wiz we should play better
than .500 in the second half.
Half Empty: This
team was built on veteran free agents. That usually means a short
window of opportunity. And, this may not be our year. Yep, injuries
suck. But they happen. If this wasn’t our year are we really going to
be better next year? Gionta, Cammi and Gomez aren’t going to score more
as they get older. Patches, Subban, and Eller aren’t ready to lead us.
Plecs, AK and Price have shown their full potential. We are a 90-ish
point team for the third straight year that can’t seem to overcome inert
After a short break for our corporate sponsors we like to call the All Star Weekend, we will return for the lightning round.