Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen – Max Domi – Nick Suzuki
Charles Hudon – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Joel Armia
Nick Cousins – Nate Thompson – Jordan Weal
Ben Chiarot – Shea Weber
Victor Mete – Jeff Petry
Mike Reilly – Cale Fleury
Carey Price – Keith Kinkaid
Christian Folin, Brett Kulak
Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin
After taking a 4-0 lead, the Canadiens suffered a humiliating collapse to the New York Rangers. Since a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals on November 15th, Montreal has lost four straight games. Three of those contests were at home and every opponent is ranked in the bottom-10 of the league.
Currently, the Senators, Rangers, Blue Jackets and Devils are 23rd, 26th, 27th and 29th in the league. This is the soft part of the Canadiens schedule and the team is playing soft.
So, Habs fans are understandably snarly. They aren’t interested in reasons for the poor play. Raw emotion isn’t easily appeased by rational explanations. They simply want someone to blame.
So why not blame the goalie? He makes a lot of money. Yes, it’s irrational. But more than that, it’s lazy and dumb.
In the first 25 minutes of the game, while the Canadiens were building a 4-0 lead, they were not dominating. Throughout that time, Carey Price had to be outstanding. Montreal was sloppy with the puck, regularly giving up odd man rushes to the Rangers.
Claude Julien pointed the finger at his forwards, indicating that they were simply spectators at the visitors exited their zone. The Montreal backcheck took the night off.
But the defence itself wasn’t having a banner night either.
Players failing to clear the puck was an issue but it wasn’t the only one. Ranger forwards were allowed to crowd the crease picking up goals via tips and screens. And on several occasions the Habs defensive sea parted, leaving an inviting gap for Rangers to drive to the net.
The Canadiens have had a rough eight days. A more difficult part of the schedule is set to arrive in just over a week.
Still looking for one person to blame? You would be closer to the root of the issues if you aim your sights on Marc Bergevin.
Bergevin is the architect. He is the person who believes that depth should be gathered around the fourth line. Rather than directly address a glaring deficiency at 1 LD, he chose the committee approach. And Bergevin failed to choose adequate backup goaltending.
So don’t get drawn into focusing on the minutiae. It’s not injuries; Paul Byron and Jonathan Drouin were not producing prior to their surgeries. It’s not about which forward position Max Domi plays; although he should always be paired with Artturi Lehkonen.
If you are a frustrated Habs fan, you have an issue with the general manager.
The Canadiens host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. The Bruins presently are the second place team in the NHL with a record of 15-3-5.
Plus / Minus
▲ Artturi Lehkonen, Max Domi, Nick Suzuki, Shea Weber, Carey Price
▼ Nate Thompson, Jeff Petry, Victor Mete, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Charles Hudon, Phillip Danault, Mike Reilly