Things were looking up early on against the Lightning, with the Habs having a
1-0 lead before the first minute was up. Couple that with facing a rookie
AHL starter, and this was going to be the night the losing streak ended.
Or not. A brief lapse of counting ability put the Habs down 2 men, giving
the Lightning the tying goal and the momentum, en route to a 4-1 win.
Max Pacioretty looked as if he’d be spoiling Cedrick Desjardins’ NHL debut
early, scoring on the first shot of the game. And Montreal did have
several chances shortly after but couldn’t get the 2nd goal which I fully
believe would have led to a more favourable result in this one. Martin St.
Louis tied it early in the 2nd on a 2-man advantage from too many men calls,
while Pavel Kubina, on a very strange goal that saw Jaroslav Spacek tripped up
(and getting a penalty for doing so) inadvertently deflect the puck into his own
net, giving the Bolts a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd.
A 1 goal deficit shouldn’t be impossible to overcome, nor too great a deficit
to put forth some effort, but any hopes of a comeback died very quickly. A
Roman Hamrlik hook led to a Steven Stamkos penalty shot, which found its way
into the net; Stamkos put the final nail in the coffin not even 3 minutes later,
scoring on a wraparound that Habs’ starter Carey Price is still trying to find.
Price took the loss, stopping just 16 of 20 shots, while Alex Auld turned aside
the 3 shots he faced. Desjardins was sharp after the early goal, picking
up the win with 27 saves.
HW 3 Stars of the Night:
1st Star: P.K. Subban (0 points, even rating, 4 shots, 2 hits,
3 blocks, 23:27 TOI)
I was quite impressed with the rookie tonight, being paired with Gill seemed to
give him the confidence that he has been lacking lately. He only looked
for the big hit once and was pretty strong positionally in all 3 zones. A
game to build on for sure.
2nd Star: Max Pacioretty (1 goal, even rating, 1 shot, 12:24
He started the game perfectly with a goal on his first shift of the game.
Though he was somewhat quiet afterwards, the good start is worth something at
the very least.
3rd Star: James Wisniewski (0 points, +1 rating, 1 shot, 1
takeaway, 21:48 TOI)
His 1st period was very impressive but unfortunately, like most of the Habs in
this one, he didn’t do much afterwards. Still, for his first game in a new
system, more positives than negatives.
Honourable Mention: Tomas Plekanec (0 points, even rating, 6
shots, 3 hits, 14/24 faceoffs, 20:35 TOI)
Yes, the scoring woes on the road continue but his effort can’t be faulted in
this game. He was the lone bright spot on his line and generated some of
the better scoring chances. His faceoff play was also an improvement as
the team collectively won more than they lost.
Final Thought: Forget the stats, most of them aren’t any fun to
look at so I won’t subject you to them. For my Final Thought, I’m going to
avoid getting into whether Jacques Martin is the right coach or not, for the
purposes of this discussion, it really doesn’t matter. Immediate talk
postgame shifted to whether there’s a mutiny going on here so I’ll instead
I’m not sure it’s a mutiny, but it’s not far from it and rather than do the easy
thing and blame the coaching staff, I’m turning the pressure onto the players.
The players are paid professional athletes, dogging it simply is unacceptable
and quite frankly embarrassing to the organization, the fans, and to themselves.
It doesn’t matter whether you think the coaching staff took a pill that made
them forget how to coach, it doesn’t matter if you disagree with the system, you
suck it up and you play. That’s why you’re in this league, that’s why
you’re paid to play. Suck it up and go out there and do your job.
Anything short of that is simply cowardly. You shouldn’t need extra
motivation to play every night, especially in the midst of a losing streak.
Show that you care, give 100% effort in Florida. If that happens, this
streak may end on a better note.