Montreal - December 16, 2011 - That's not Jacques Martin behind the Canadiens bench. It's the 2011 edition of Scrooge.
Louis Leblanc. Scores his first NHL goal 13:24 into the second period and the Bell Centre erupts. His coach thanks him by sending him out for one single 50 second shift in the third period.
Erik Cole. Another power play goal. His 5th of the season. That's two more than he had all of last season. Five more than Mathieu Darche has this season. Takes over the team lead in goals with 12.
Max Pacioretty. Two assists. Three shots on goal. Only player other than Cole in double figures in goals. So how come he wasn't on the ice during Habs 5 on 3 late in first period?
David Desharnais. Spark plug again along with his linemates. Two point night. So how come he wasn't on the ice during Habs 5 on 3 late in the first period? When Jacques Martin finally did put Desharnais - Cole - Pacioretty out as a trio on the PP they connected (Cole) late in the second period.
Mike Blunden. First point as a Hab on the Leblanc goal. But the real grunt work on the goal was provided by...
Yannick Weber. Terrific play along the boards enabling the puck to reach PK Subban who's soft shot glanced off Blunden's stick to Leblanc.
Habs PK unit was, statistically, a perfect 6 for 6 but it should be noted that the Flyers third goal by Wayne Simmonds came four seconds after the expiration of s Mike Cammalleri penalty. Cammalleri did not make it back into the play in front of the Montreal net.
Montreal power play was 1 - 9 including a prolonged 5 on 3 late in the first period when the Flyers took three consecutive penalties.
Mike Cammalleri. Still looking. Had 7 shots on goal to lead both teams. Bad penalty as noted above led to Philadelphia goal.
Thomas Plekanec. He can't score either, especially if Chris Lee is working. Took a bad high sticking penalty behind the Flyers net with five minutes to play. Once upon a time your Montreal Canadiens were feared for many reasons. Chief among them - strength down the middle. But in 32 games this season Montreal centermen Plekanec, Desharnais, Lars Eller, Petteri Nokelainen and Scott Gomez have combined for a total of 15 goals (or 15 goals in a combined 137 games played). By comparison the Stanley Cup champion Bruins have 39 goals from their centermen. Not exactly a fair comparison (why not?)? OK, how about the Ottawa Senators? Their centermen have combined for 27 goals. The Leafs? 27. Tampa Bay? 28. Buffalo? 24. Florida? 22. That the Montreal Canadiens have just 15 goals from five centermen this season should be downright embarrassing. Makes you long for the days of Kirk Muller.
Carey Price. Game winning goal by Andrei Meszaros was a mess all the way around. It started when Price passed the puck to nobody (misfire or miscommunication?) but several teammates had the chance to grab it but couldn't get it back. Yet another screen must have had Price guessing, when in fact the entire left side of the net was open.
Habs' play in front of Price. Soft Soft Soft. Brought to you by Pierre Gauthier and Jacques Martin.
Alexei Emelin. Anything but soft but was -2. Big surprise he wasn't dominant after being a healthy scratch.
Jacques Martin. Had the gall to blame the loss on "mistakes by young players". But as Tony Marinaro pointed out on the Post Game Show, it was veterans Plekanec, Cammalleri, Andrei Kostitsyn, Mathieu Darche, Josh Gorges, Petteri Nokelaianen and Hal Gill who were a combined -13. Has anybody associated with the Canadiens made more "mistakes" during games this season than the head coach? And how about yet another sluggish start on home ice against a Flyers team without its two best players? Prior to the Philadelphia parade to the penalty box with three minutes to go in the first the Canadiens managed just four shots on goal - including an early power play. Maybe something is about to give. Perry Pearn was at the game. The last time Pearn was on hand for a home game (he became a pro scout after Gauthier fired him) the Habs followed it up by trading for Tomas Kaberle.
The season ending injury to Chris Pronger capping off what has to be the worst concussion - related week in NHL history. First tipped off by Pierre McGuire live on TSN 990, Philadelphia made it official two hours later when Paul Holmgren issused a statement during the first period. Think Holmgren, in seeking a replacement, will do better than Kaberle?
Chris Lee. How did this guy get an NHL job? Seriously?