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In their ugliest loss of the season thus far, the Montreal Canadiens were manhandled 5-0 by the Philadelphia Flyers. Mike Ribeiro failed to convert on two early chances, while the Flyers were more opportunistic and took a 2-0 lead. From that point on they pressed the Habs defensemen with an aggressive forechecking style, and intimidated the forwards who kept getting rid of the puck.

It led to endless turnovers, the Habs barely ever had the puck… and they were outshot 39-20, and outchanced by an even wider margin.


Philadelphia 1-0: It starts with Theodore failing to catch an easy shot with his glove, it goes over the net and the play goes on. The Flyers are first on the puck, as they would be all night. Primeau throws a pick on Souray behind the net allowing Kapanen to come out alone in front of the net. He shoots, Gagné who was in front manages to touch the puck… it deflects away from the net but hits Souray’s skate and goes in.


Philadelphia 2-0: Theodore makes a save, but then pokes the puck away to the front of the net… directly to Amonte who shoots it in the open net. Of course there should be a Canadiens player there to help out his goalie, but Theo should have frozen the puck once again.


Philadelphia 3-0: Williams barely notices Audette trying to check him, goes right by him behind the net, comes out the other side and passes the puck in the front of the net. Brisebois fails to cut the pass off, it goes to Handzus who puts it in. Moments later Perreault appears in the picture, it just happens Handzus was his man. He was actually skating right with him the whole time, just never bothered to actually check him.

Pathetic effort. 


Philadelphia 4-0: Williams makes a spin-o-rama move that mystifies Quintal behind the net, then again finds someone in front, this time LeClair… who puts it in. You guessed it, Perreault appears moments later…


Philadelphia 5-0: Jason Ward takes an unnecessary holding the stick penalty. With LeClair laughing at Rivet’s attempts to get him out from the front of the net, Bulis forgets his point man who slides in from the point… receives the pass from the corner and scores.





         This was the first real loss for the Habs. It wasn’t about how they took too many penalties or how they shot themselves in the foot. The simply got beat to submission, they were physically beaten… and they waived the white flag. It was the first game that reminded me of last year’s disgrace of a team and the pathetic performances they came up with.

         Claude Julien demoted Ryder and put Sundstrom on the 2nd line for this game, stating he was looking for better defense on that line. The fact is whoever you put on that line, Audette & Perreault are just two awful defensive players and demoting the only worthy player of the line was not the answer.

         A couple of games ago we were wondering who would lose his job when Koivu returned, because they were all doing so well. It seems we might be seeing our answer. While I just said Ryder was demoted, it was actually Perreault & Audette who were demoted to Sundstrom’s line… and Bégin & Ward were promoted to Ryder’s line. Perreault’s line played 9-10 minutes, while Ryder & Ward played 15 minutes… and Bégin 13 minutes.

         And while Ribeiro’s two early misses cost this team deeply, the fact is he had his chances at least. Not only that but he was on the ice for only 1 goal against, and was one of the very few Canadiens players to actually fight back after taking a hit instead of just heading to the bench. His coach apparently noticed, he played 19 minutes, more than any other forward.

         We already knew Julien was unhappy with the Perreault line, which is why he switched up Ryder for Sundstrom before the game. But during the game he also switched Audette & Zednik, leaving no trace whatsoever of that former line.

         The defense had a tough game, as against Ottawa when the opposition puts a lot of pressure on them they can’t handle it… it leads to endless turnovers and a whole game spent with the Habs on their heels. 


Habs’ hero: That’s a tough pick. I’ll take Ribeiro, because on a night where the whole team pulled a no-show and were physically intimidated… Ribeiro took his lumps but kept trying, kept battling out there. He was also just about the only player on the Canadiens’ side who would hold on to the puck for more than 2 seconds… all the others would get rid of it immediately, scared of getting hit.

Props to Julien for recognizing it, and rewarding him with a lot of ice-time. This kid has more heart that people realize. 


Habs’ zero: Perreault & Audette, again… nothing on offense and just plain ugly on defense. No fight in them, just get rid of the puck as quickly as they can. How long will Gainey put up with it?

And what about Zednik & Hossa? Didn’t notice much from them either.



Final Thoughts:


A good old-fashioned ass-whoopin’… there’s no other way to describe it. It was the Habs’ first no-show of the year, and the timing of it is worrisome. It comes on the heels of bad loss to Ottawa, and with a home & away against Boston around the corner. The players were saying how it was important to not let that loss vs. the Senators turn into a losing streak… but that‘s exactly what they have on their hands now, for the first time this year.


The Habs will likely count on Garon to turn things around tomorrow in their 2nd game in two nights, while Koivu still isn’t expected to play vs. Boston.