I’d love to post some interesting stuff about the latest embarrassment, but you saw what I saw.
So I’ll just toss out a few observations and then enjoy the therapeutic benefits of some fine, soothing music.
Here’s the whole steaming, stinking coiled mess in a nutshell:
The best player on the Montreal Canadiens has been yanked in his last three road games.
You saw the stats Tweeted during the game: Over three road starts, Price has faced 71 shots and allowed 14 goals. His GAA is 8.23, with a save percentage of 80.3.
The Canadiens have a two-point lead on the Rangers and Sabres, each of whom has a game in hand.
There are four games left, three of which are on the road: New Jersey on Saturday, Ottawa and – gulp! – Toronto next week.
The one remaining home game is against the defending Stanley Cup champions, who are in their own dog fight in the Western Conference.
It is conceivable that the Canadiens will skate out onto the ice of the Air Canada Centre on April 9 with their playoff fate in the balance.
And let’s say they make the playoffs. The first two games would be on the road against one of the top-seeded teams.
Anyone expecting another miracle spring?
Anyone foresee Carey Price pulling a Jaro Halak through April and into May?
When the Canadiens won the seventh game of their opening-round series against heavily-favoured Washington last April, these were the defencemen playing in front of Halak: Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, Ryan O’Byrne, Roman Hamrlik, Hal Gill, P.K. Subban and, strictly on the PP, Marc-André Bergeron.
If the Canadiens make the playoffs, Carey Price will play behind … well, you know the names.
The Canadiens have two Dmen capable of moving the puck and/or making accurate first passes: Subban and James Wisniewski.
The rest of the defence corps is slow. Which means puck support by the forwards is absolutely essential.
And that’s what we saw against Atlanta at the Bell Centre. But the Hurricanes are not the Thrashers.
On L’Antichambre, Gaston Therrien broke down a sequence that epitomized the Canadiens’ zone play. In one sequence, Tomas Plekanec, Mike Cammalleri and Hal Gill made defensive errors. There was no intensity, no commitment, no hard work.
And these were veterans.
Lars Eller made one error and that was it. Jacques Martin nailed the kid to the bench a little over two minutes into the second period.
Eller’s stats: six shifts, 4:01 ToI, minus-1.
Trailing 4-2 midway through the third period, Martin shortened his bench to three lines: Plekanec centring Andrei Kostitsyn and Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta with latest LW Benoit Pouliot and – wait for this one, in a two-goal game – Halpern, Mathieu Darche and Travis Moen.
This sums up the Canadiens’ no-show: EVERY SKATER, except Jeff Halpern, was a minus on the night.
Martin F. on Saturday.
In his barn.