The Canadiens are limping, not sprinting, their option to the end line

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On the final TV timeout of the sport between the Canadiens and the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, the Hurricanes held a 74-22 lead in shot makes an attempt. Carolina appeared like a handful of adults at a neighbourhood rink who didn’t really feel like giving an opportunity to the horde of youngsters who placed on their skates after college.

The Canadiens have been going to lose, they have been by no means even within the sport, however that didn’t cease the Bell Centre crowd from doing the wave. If mother denims are again in model, if we’re sporting glasses like those former Expos boss Claude Brochu used to put on in 1992, heck, may as properly convey again the wave. Why spoil all of the enjoyable?

In any case, it was the final Saturday evening at Bell Centre this season.

However simply minutes later, on the finish of a one-sided sport that had the Canadiens going the unsuitable approach, they have been booed off the ice. It was a uncommon show of disappointment by Canadiens followers in a season the place the group’s rebuild has been obtained with serenity and understanding.

“I agree with them,” Martin St. Louis stated in regards to the crowd booing.

Think about the context: the Canadiens’ season has been executed for a very long time now, half of the roster is out, and a Hurricanes lineup aggravated by its inconsistent outcomes since dropping Andrei Svechnikov had arrived in Montreal decided to search out its sport and be prepared for the beginning of the playoffs.

The matchup was uneven on paper and on the ice.

St. Louis might have used the Hurricanes’ superiority and the ridiculous circumstances he’s needed to cope with late within the season as excuses. Final month’s schedule was a grind, too, and plenty of gamers have been requested to fill roles past their present capabilities. In any case, Alex Belzile was his second-line heart Saturday.

However St. Louis didn’t go there. Regardless of the scale of the duty at hand, and despite the truth that the Canadiens have solely 5 video games left this season, they need to have had some Don Quixote in them, fighters able to tilt at windmills. Certain, that type of effort may need been in useless — possibly not, you by no means know — however at the very least they might have fought.

However trapped of their more and more dangerous execution, with the slammed doorways and the smashed sticks, we noticed a group that forgot to place up any actual resistance in opposition to one of many league’s strongest groups.

“We have been by no means in it tonight,” St. Louis stated after the 3-0 loss.

The Canadiens weren’t in it a lot two nights earlier in opposition to the Florida Panthers, and the loss in Philadelphia final Tuesday was not precisely a sight for sore eyes.

St. Louis wished his group to dash to the end line however that’s not how issues are enjoying out. The Canadiens are limping, which is becoming contemplating Rafael Harvey-Pinard claimed the Molson Cup for March in road garments earlier than the sport and that in a while, it was introduced David Savard was shut down due to a knee harm.

“We have been pissed off, we have been undoubtedly pissed off,” St. Louis added. “We simply didn’t have sufficient gasoline within the tank to do one thing. Once we had alternatives to make a play we didn’t join, we couldn’t make a move. And in case you can’t make a move in opposition to that type of stress, in case you can’t play by way of individuals and make passes, generally you’ve obtained to bypass the stress, generally you’ve obtained to move by way of the stress. We couldn’t do both. So we have been type of chasing the sport.

“I’ve been in these video games and it’s a nasty feeling. You’re feeling you go up and down and also you’re not touching the puck. It’s deflating. It’s irritating.”

The Canadiens gave up a season-high 50 pictures on purpose, and their 14 pictures in opposition to the Hurricanes have been a season-low. The shot differential was by far their worst this season.

Worst shot differentials this season

Differential opponent Date Rating Goaltender


vs Carolina

April 1st, 2023




in Calgary

December 1st, 2022




in New Jersey

February 21, 2023




in Pittsburgh

March 14, 2023




vs Seattle

January 9, 2023




in Tampa Bay

March 18, 2023




in Carolina

February 16, 2023



“We actually had no room on the ice,” famous goalie Samuel Montembeault. “It virtually appeared like there have been six of them. Each time we made a move there was somebody on us. I believe subsequent sport we’re going to wish to point out up with extra vitality proper from the beginning. Even on the bench, we want guys to point out extra enthusiasm.”

It may not be a lot as a group that the Canadiens can take one thing from a loss like that. At this level of the season, in search of technical changes has restricted worth, particularly when plenty of gamers who suffered by way of that 60-minute bag skate received’t be again subsequent yr.

However on a person stage, there was actually one thing to be realized from it.

“You may look your self within the mirror after video games like that, like, what can I do higher individually that may lend to the group’s success?” stated defenseman Jordan Harris. “You may at all times be taught for your self, irrespective of how dangerous it’s.”

St. Louis stated after the sport that his participant evaluations are just about full. He has all of them just about discovered by now. Nevertheless it’s seemingly that it received’t cease him from who checks out and who actually needs to finish the season on a excessive word.

Montembeault, for one, appears desirous to proceed to show himself and present what he’s fabricated from. He has managed to maintain tempo with the NHL’s common save share (.904) regardless of enjoying behind an more and more susceptible group defensively in entrance of him. He beats passes extra usually due to improved puck monitoring and he’s far more sq. to the puck than up to now, forcing shooters to take their greatest pictures. Earlier this season, his summer season coach Maxime Vaillancourt advised us that Montembeault has realized to raised learn the shooter’s launch, which helps clarify why you don’t see him swimming in entrance of his web as usually. Simply suppose again to final yr’s Montembeault to appreciate how a lot steadiness the 26-year-old netminder has discovered.

The goalie rotation is ready in Montreal’s web. Since Jake Allen returned from harm on Jan.26, the 2 goalies every had 14 begins and 25 minutes of enjoying time separating them. This can be a important shift from the primary half of the season when Allen had greater than two-thirds of the workload.

Montembeault has received the coach’s full confidence, which is a giant win for him as this season rides into the sundown.

Can we are saying the identical about all his teammates?

(Picture of Sam Montembeault: David Kirouac/USA At the moment)

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