The good news: Boston lost.
The bad news: Where do you start?
Jacques Martin, never one to rival Conan O’Brien during his media briefings, was particularly terse after this one.
The thrust of the coach’s analysis: Had the Canadiens played their system – which is to say, his system – they would have beaten the Flyers.
Although there were 10 giveaways by his defencemen, Martin spread the blame around, noting his forwards did a poor job of supporting the D.
“When we have five players in the picture, we’re effective.” Martin said. “When we don’t, we’re not.”
Martin did not say, nor did anyone ask, why Lars Eller was on as a penalty-killer with five minutes remaining in a 3-3 game.
At that point, the Canadiens had battled back heroically from a 3-1 deficit and were in the process of killing a penalty to Tomas Plekanec.
Granted, Pleks is the team’s best PK man. But after Jeff Halpern had centred the first wave of the PK, why put on a rookie who had, at that point, played one shift in the third period and eight in the game for less than six minutes total ToI?
Scott Gomez, who returned to action with a strong game, was available. So was Max Lapierre.
A curious decision.
But you can’t hang the defeat on the rookie or the coach.
And on that backbreaking goal, what the heck was Jaro Spacek doing deep in the Flyers’ zone on the PK?
Credit the Canadiens for perseverance. They ceded the early momentum and the lead to the Flyers but never quit.
They fired 41 shots at Sergei Bobrovsky. The Flyers blocked another 22 and there were 21 misses.
That’s a lot of puck possession.
Comparable stats for the Flyers were 30 SoG, seven misses and 12 blocks by the Canadiens. The visitors were opportunistic, and Carey Price wasn’t the best goaltender on the ice.
Bob-Bob’s efforts won him a First Star, but the homer fans voted Brian Gionta (eight shots) and P.K. Subban the second and third.
I thought Jeff Carter (seven SoG, 9-7 on faceoffs, plus-3 centred a line that was great all night) was the best forward on the ice. But I was too busy, what with our ongoing HIO server issues, to vote.
A couple firsts tonight:
• First three-game losing streak of the season
• First time Price has given up four goals in regulation
Not much time to mope, with the Bruins in town tomorrow for a good old-fashioned Northeast Division four-pointer.
The Canadiens are two points ahead, but Boston has two games in hand. And they’re tied at 38 points with Tampa Bay and Atlanta in a tightening Eastern Conference race.