Good news: the Canadiens won’t lose any more home games this year.
Florida took a 3-0 lead into the third period and withstood two goals by Andrei Markov and a late-game flurry to end 2007’s home schedule on a sour note for Canadiens.
At least they didn’t leave the ice with boos echoing off the rafters of the Bell Centre. With snow wreaking havoc in Montreal, many fans were gone by the time Markov scored his second, with 24 seconds remaining. Those who stayed saw Canadiens press for the equalizer, to no avail.
Christopher Higgins described the loss as a "weird game" with a lot of play in the neutral zone.
"The biggest thing," Higgins said, "is we weren’t moving he puck deep. We weren’t skating, and we didn’t have any bite to our game. There was no sustained offensive pressure.
"A fast start is key for our team" Higgins added. "We didn’t have the aggression we need in our game.
"If we’re nnot taking the game to them, we play into their hands. They clog the neutral zone, they do a great job backchecking. We had to put pucks into the right spots on the ice."
Mike Komisarek lamented Canadiens’ inconsistency.
"We take a couple steps forward," he said, "then we’re back to square one."
The season, Komisarek said, is "a grind – 82 games and it’s a challenge every night.
"There are no easy games, no easy shifts."
And no excuse, the big defenceman added "for playing soft."