Joël Bouchard said it would be “un match de coach”.
Jacques Martin had made some assertive moves.
How would his team respond?
For an assessment, let’s climb into the Time Machine and set it 10 hours forward to the practice the Canadiens will hold in Dallas before this year’s version of Napoleon in Russia moves on to Carolina for – gulp! – a crucial Dec. 23 game.
Over to you, JM:
“Good morning, ladies. As you can see, there are no pucks on the ice.
“Excused from this bag skate: numbers 67, 11, 21 and 52.
You too, number 44. You played 24 minutes last night, and I don’t want the United Nations Human Rights Commission on my ass.
“Hey 46, you’re excused, too. You didn’t play last night. You realize that, right?
“As for the rest of you, start skating. And I hope you enjoy this video we’re watching after practice.
Coach Therrien has a message for you:
Now let’s have a look at some stats:
• The Canadiens had 29 shots on goal. The Stars blocked 20 and there were a mind-boggling 24 misses. Comparable numbers for the winning team: 17 SoG, 11 misses and the Canadiens blocked 10.
So a 73-38 possession margin means the Canadiens dominated right?
Uh, wrong. The stat is totally misleading and indicative of the Canadiens firing away from the perimeter and from impossible angles while Dallas did a superb job of protecting the dirty zones in front of Kari Lehtonen … not that anyone other than Max Pacioretty or Mathieu Darche was inclined to go there anyway.
Yes, Lehtonen was good. But how many second chances did the Canadiens get?
And where were the finishers?
One was in the pressbox, but you’d have a hard time convincing me AK46 would have made a difference … although he might have buried the 2-on-1 chance that Benoit Pouliot screwed up.
• The Canadiens have yet to win a game this season when trailing after one period (they’re 0-9) or after 40 minutes (0-12).
• Carey Price over his last six games: GAA of 3.67 and save percentage of 88.0. Price had not given up more than three goals in regulation time until the Flyers beat him 5-3 last week. He’s given up five twice in the last four games.
• The team has slipped below .500, to 7-8, on the road. The Canadiens are 4-4-1 against the Western Conference.
As the guys on RDS said, the Canadiens need miraculous goaltending to win.
Jaro Halak ran out of miracles against Philadelphia in the playoffs.
Let’s hope Carey Price has some in reserve.
Hey, every team goes through slumps, and better now than in late March.
It’s late and I need my beauty sleep.
More doom and gloom tomorrow.