The Canadiens will be looking to end a three-game losing streak when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
The Canadiens didn’t hold a morning skate Thursday after dropping a 6-4 decision to the Penguins Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. The Canadiens have been outscored 18-8 in the three losses to Toronto, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
The club did announce that defenceman Nathan Beaulieu has been returned to the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. In six games with the Canadiens this season, Beaulieu has two assists and is plus-5.
With Wednesday’s loss, the Canadiens dropped to second place in the Northeast Division and fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 57 points (26-12-5). The Boston Bruins (26-11-5) also have 57 points, but have played one less game. The Toronto Maple Leafs (24-14-5), sitting in fifth place in the conference standings, are only four points behind the Canadiens.
The Leafs play host to the New York Islanders Thursday night. The Bruins, coming off an emotional 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo on Wednesday night, are back in action Friday when they play host to the Penguins.
“We are trying to prepare ourselves for the playoffs and obviously we didn’t have a good night, and we’re going to have to tighten up our defensive game,” coach Michel Therrien said after the loss to the Penguins. “We can’t give up six goals, five goals like we’ve been doing the last three games. We have to get back to basics.
“Defensively, there was too much room between the forwards and the defencemen,” the coach added. “We don’t play as a unit of five and that makes us an easy team to play against.”
Therrien appealed to his veterans to turn things around, saying: “We’re facing a difficult time and it’s time to show we’re solid as a group. I thought tonight we had good intention, but we gave up some early goals and lost confidence.”
(Photo by Gene Puskar/The Associated Press)