Montreal - Nov. 18, 2011 - Just when you thought the Canadiens had perhaps turned a corner they come up with an inexcusable stinker against a team that's even worse than the Carolina Hurricanes. Spare me the back to back factor. They played in Long Island not Long Beach.
Why they would come out as flat as they did is way beyond my comprehension unless they totally disrespected their opponent and figured it would be as simple as jumping over the boards. The NHL schedule maker could not have done them a bigger favour by presenting games 18 and 19 of the season against the Hurricanes & Islanders and a chance to get on a real roll facing two teams that are in deep trouble.
Carolina on home ice? No Problem. But the fact they managed just two shots on goal in over eight minutes against a small, old and slow goaltender is inexplicable. That they managed just another 27 shots against a young, slow broken down replacement goaltender is even more difficult to understand.
Maybe they were looking ahead to Saturday vs NY Rangers & Monday vs Bruins. Too bad. Because after what happened tonight they'll still have to spend too much time looking behind.
Peter Budaj in the first and third periods. He gave his team a chance to grab a lead which they seemed disinterested in doing. And he bounced back in the third to give his team a chance to force overtime.
Thomas Plekanic had two more assists and won 57% of his face offs.
Mike Cammalleri was a threat all night. Yet another goal post for Cammy. Too bad they didn't enlarge the nets. He'd have over 10 goals by now.
Frederic St. Denis. Can't blame the call up for defensive zone breakdowns. He's now +2 after his first two game sin the NHL.
Scott Gomez was 8 for 10 in the face off circle.
Habs PK Unit again holding the opposition scoreless.
Some of the older guys did nothing until it was too late including Brian Gionta, Travis Moen & Gomez.
Josh Gorges & PK Subban struggled.
Any analyst blaming the Islanders 3rd goal by Mark Streit on anybody but Budaj is thinking way too much. That puck had to be stopped.
Reporters. RDS just ran 2-3 questions, en Francais, directed at Martin after the loss. Is it really that difficult, after that kind of performance, to ask a tough question to a coach who didn't seem to have his team ready to play?
Budaj completely missing the puck behind the net and then not being able to get back in resulting in the game's first goal by PA Parenteau. Budaj's game fell apart for the rest of the period. So did his team's.
Jacques Martin behind the bench. Waited too long to pull Budaj even though the Habs had control against a weak - in - their - own - end Islanders team. And with 6 attackers on the ice, his two biggest and best forwards, Max Pacioretty & Erik Cole, were ON THE BENCH (they finally made it out for the final face off with seven seconds left).
Scott Gomez. Maybe he should switch back to # 91.On pace for 0 goals this season (448 players in NHL have scored at least one goal), Gomez was actually one of the six Montreal skaters on the ice with time running out. He was -2 on the night, and was especially porous in the second period when he kept passing the puck to nobody and over stayed a shift which ended with an Islanders goal. You've got to think that time is rapidly running out on Gomez. He'll certainly get an opportunity against his former team - the Rangers on Saturday and Boston on Monday. But if nothing happens he's got to go to Hamilton. If Montreal can manage to acquire a big, expensive forward (especially at center) while Gomez is in the AHL that would be a bonus. But he's got to go down, at this point, to see if his game is salvageable. If he plays a couple of weeks in the AHL and rediscovers whatever scoring touch he might still have then he can always be recalled with the hope that he continues to produce at the NHL level. Or a minor miracle might happen and some other team, after scouting him in the AHL, will actually grab him off re - entry waivers. Whatever happens, Gomez is going, going ...