Columbus Blue Jackets used the Bob Gainey playbook to embarrass Canadiens on their general manager’s big night.
The visitors played tough, disciplined defensive hockey. Columbus managed just 22 shots on Carey Price, but three of them went in.
At the other end of the ice, Pascal Leclaire made 31 saves to record his nith shutout of the year.
The 25-year-old native of Repentigny was the game’s first star, but the sad truth was he was minimally tested.
Canadiens did not get bodies in front of Leclaire. Few shots were directed from the slot. Leclaire controlled what few rebounnds he allowed, and his defence – led by ageless Adam Foote – made sure Canadiens could not mount anything resembling sustained pressure.
The game was dreadfully boring. With a 2-0 lead 10 minutes in, Columbus spent the next 50 minutes frustrating the Canadiens.
Dump-ins didn’t work. The Blue Jackets pounced on them and quickly launched transition.
The Canadiens’ power play went 0-for-6, including a 5-on-3 for 1:10 in the second period.
As I ruefully write these words, Dave Stubbs is in the losing room, collecting clichés and rationalizations for audio that will be posted on the main site.