There’s not a whole lot to say after a performance like that. The Canadiens played without heart, they were let down by the goaltending, and they may as well not even have come to Atlanta for the game. For a team needing to win games to make the playoffs this effort was completely unacceptable. The Habs were prepared for a game of shinney, and that’s stretching it. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a team lose the puck for no reason, miss passes, and just generally not seem to care like they did tonight.
The only upside to the entire night was the play of the first line, who at least made something happen on most shifts. For the rest of the club, including the coach? It’s back to the drawing boards.
Halak: C- While he was left to his own devices for much of the time, and even though he made some very great saves early on, this was a poor performance. Two of the goals were totally ridiculous, and another couple were at least questionable.
Aebischer: C+ He only had one goal against, but it’s not like the Thrashers were pushing with their massive lead. That one goal? Through the wickets.
Bouillon: D+ Let’s pray he makes it back to the box next game. Aside from one play where he pinched and got a solid scoring opportunity, he was poor. There was little control of the puck, his passing was abysmal, and there’s nothing I hate more than someone who sticks out a knee – I’m glad Hossa was okay.
Dandenault: C Blessedly invisible for much of the match, though still a guy on his butt in the corners way too often.
Komisarek: D+ When you get down by two goals, you absolutely expect your big men to start throwing the body to make a statement and put the other team on its heels. THe most Komi did was give them light chest massages.
Markov: B- The lone bright spot defensively, and yet he still wasn’t at his best.
Souray: C- Giveaway after giveaway and poor decisions all night. He played soft, he gave the puck away cheaply on the powerplay, of all places, and he might as well have been walking at points.
Streit: C Had the puck stripped from his stick on the third goal and, along with Souray, completely fumbled coverage on the fifth goal. At least he was effective enough moving forward with the puck most of the evening.
Begin: D+ Our “sparkplug” was completely invisible.
Bonk: C+ A very disappointing game. He seemed at half speed a lot of the time, and on the first goal, he and Johnson were at centre while the puck was still behind the Canadiens net – where’s the puck support?
Higgins: B+ He played with jump, he went to the net, and he was strong on the boards. On a night when the bulk of the team took the night off, it’s nice to see a player really put forth the effort.
Johnson: B- He wasn’t as bad as Bonk was because he didn’t give the puck away cheaply all night. Here is a player who, even when he doesn’t have a great game, still at least comes to play.
Koivu: B+ Played with some jump and spirit and made things happen out there. While he should have shot on the two-on-one with Higgins, at least he was on it, which is more than can be said for anyone else.
Kostitsyn: C- He had a couple of shifts which were very good, but on the whole he was bogged down by teammates that weren’t working, and I believe that put him off his game. Delicate time for him to be in Montreal where playing alongside Kovalev might give him the idea that you don’t have to play at 100% all the time.
Kovalev: D After everything that’s happened this past week, for him to have the nerve to step out on the ice and play like he didn’t care? That’s absolutely atrocious. I suspect he’s playing his last games in the Canadiens uniform; he, like other “superstars” before him, is becoming a side attraction who isn’t worth the one or two shifts he brings per game. It doesn’t matter that he can step it up in the playoffs if he can’t help the team make them.
Lapierre: C Fourth line energy guy who is supposed to make things happen out there, but tonight was largely invisible. This is partially due to the poor effort by linemates, but he really wasn’t on his game tonight.
Latendresse: C+ He had some good shifts, I’ll give him that, but in the grand scheme of things, he’s still not where he needs to be. He seems to suffer from brain cramps fairly often these days.
Plekanec: C One of the worst games I’ve seen him play; the puck was even popping off his stick.
Ryder: B He was strong on the puck and went to the net which was pleasing to see. While everything may be crumbling around Habsland at the moment, it’s a very positive thing that Ryder at least continues to play well.
Samsonov: D- It’s funny that, on the goal where he had his pocket picked while in front of the Montreal net, at least it was he in the defensive zone helping his defenders and not his linemates: and THAT should tell you enough about how poorly his linemates were on this night in comparison with usual. That said, Sammy has run his course and could very well enjoy many more games from the stands.
PP: F Poor. Other than one real attempt where there was some effort, they might as well have declined the penalty.
PK: B Honestly, in the little they played, they did well enough. Only a goal that should have been saved was allowed.
Carbonneau: F No timeout when the team needed it, a team that was obviously not prepared for this game, and no talks that worked during intermission to make any changes. Add to that a lack of adaptability and you have a coach that’s lost all his confidence and has seemingly lost his team as well.
At this point one has to wonder about the kids and whether they’d be better off in Hamilton where the team is winning and playing well. They certainly aren’t learning anything in the NHL other than how to lose and not perform well.
Saturday night they play the hapless Blues, and yet if they play like they did tonight, it should be an easy two points for St. Louis. I’m not sure what can be done between now and then (a visit from the GM, perhaps?) but if the Habs have any hope of finding a way to the post season, it has to start now.
Apologies in advance from myself for the rest of the season. I’ll be hit and miss for many of the games left as a family tragedy will have me travelling on and off for some time. It does, however, put the game in perspective, and as bad as the Habs were tonight, it was still nice to relax and enjoy a game.
A Concerned Fan