Jocelyn Thibault returns to blank the Canadiens at the Bell Centre, mqaking 24 saves as the Buffalo Sabres win the two-game, two-night, too-depressing total-goal series 7-2.
"It was a bad effort all around," said Christopher Higgins, reflecting on the 3-0 loss in a subdued Canadiens dressing room. "We made bad decisions, a lot of turnovers, not working the puck deep.
"We were losing a lot of battles."
And the war. Buffalo is still six points behind Canadiens in the Eastern Conference standings, but the Sabres have two games in hand and are showing signs of regaining their 2006-’07 form.
The scary thing is the Canadiens are starting to evoke disquieting memories of last season.
No flu bug, no serious injuries like the one that sidelined Higggins. But there are troubling signs – an impotent power play, futile line juggling – that the team has systemic problems.
"We don’t have a 50-goal scorer," Higgins said. "We don’t have a Hart or Norris Trophy winner. For us to win we all have to work hard."
Higggins’ Long Island pal Mike Komisarek said the Canadiens "can’t continue playing like this."
"We have to do something about it. It’s the responsibility of each and every one of us – forwards, D, young guys, older guys.
"We have to play smart," Komisarek added. "We have to play with passion and show pride when we go out there."
Canadiens have Sunday off and will return to the practice ice on Monday, preparing for a rare Tuesday date with the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.