Guest analyst Jimmy Ruffin puts the latest debacle in perspective.
What becomes of us broken-hearted Canadiens fans?
Can we ride this roller-coaster through the end of the season without sustaining serious psychological damage?
Jaroslav Spacek had the right approach:
He got sick BEFORE the game.
(Shout-out to Jarred Friedman for the video)
How does a team beat the Devils in New Jersey, plaster the Rangers 6-0, enjoy a day off in southern Florida and then drop two games to playoff rivals by a cumulative score of 5-1?
A cliché we’ve heard since the beginning of the season:
In order to win, the best players have to play their best.
Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos scored for Tampa Bay.
The Canadiens’ best?
Well, Andrei Markov played 26:11 … and he didn’t yell at Carey Price once!
Scott Gomez fought a big Swedish kid.
Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta each had four shots on Antero Niittymaki.
So did Mathieu Darche.
Do we still count Carey Price among the Canadiens’ best?
He made 27 saves, including several beauties. And despite the elaborate analyses that you’ll find in the Comments section, Price could not be faulted on any of the Lightning goals.
Through the ups and downs of the Canadiens first 53 games this season, I don’t think anyone could question their character or heart. Deprived of their best player in the season opener, the team scratched, battled and clawed in almost every game they played.
The goaltending was consistently good-to-excellent.
Tomas Plekanec played his heart out.
Roman Hamrlik stepped up big. He’s not Andrei Markov, but Hammer tried.
The PK was among the best in the league … mainly because it had so much practice.
Marc-André Bergeron helped the power play.
Scott Gomez came to life, and his resurgence happily coincided with the acquisition of Benoit Pouliot and the return of Brian Gionta.
It all came together against the Rangers at the Bell Centre.
Then it all fell apart in Florida.
Second to the puck and losing every battle.
Soft, badly coordinated defensive zone coverage.
Long-range, easily-stopped shots. Nothing from the slot, no net presence, no forward willing or able to play in the dirty zones qwhere most of the NHL’s goals originate.
I could go on, but what’s the point?
We’re serious hockey fans.
We know what we’re watching … and it ain’t pretty.
The Canadiens are in ninth place. The teams above and below them in the Parity Division all have games in hand.
On Saturday, the Canadiens will be at Scotiabank Place to face the Senators, who’ve been on fire since Daniel F. – their captain and leader – returned to the lineup.
In his postgame press conference, Jacques Martin looked like (choose one):
a) Jimmy Carter during the worst of the Hostage Crisis
b) Guy Carbonneau during the February road trip last season
c) A guy who wishes he could stay behind in Florida
Martin thought the Canadiens played better in Tampa Bay than they did against the Panthers.
He praised the contribution of Sergei Kostitsyn.
Can we add another possibility, then:
d) Keith Richards during Happy Hour.
On to Ottawa.
Jaro Halak will get the start.
And Jaro Spacek should be recovered … unless he watches this game tape.
• • •
Carolina pastes the Rangers in New York.
Sergei Samsonov: Two goals
Tom Kostopoulos: Two assists
Oh, and Gui! got one …