The Montreal Canadiens had a tough task in front of them as they tried to snap out of their slump against the Chicago Blackhawks.
That didn’t happen. They fell behind 2-0 and fell apart in the third period to eventually fall 5-0. Chateauguay native Corey Crawford got the shutout for Chicago.
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The Canadiens didn’t play badly in the first period, but absolutely fell apart in the second and third and got dominated, spending buckets of time in the defensive zone. They went close to 15 minutes without a shot on goal over the end of the second and start of the third.
I mentioned yesterday before the game that I didn’t think Michael Bournival replacing Travis Moen would solve the Canadiens problems and those calling for Jiri Sekac would agree he isn’t the answer either.
Quite frankly, the top players on Montreal need to start playing like their top players. Sure, it’s great when Nathan Beaulieu plays well. It’s great when Lars Eller is playing well. But if it means Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban and Max Pacioretty struggle, what’s the point?
The positives include the line of Tomas Plekanec, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher but really anyone on that line with Plekanec and Galchenyuk have looked really good and Gallagher looks good pretty much all the time as well.
Montreal will now focus on Buffalo and desperately needs two points. If Montreal loses this game, or at the very least doesn’t dominate possession, the Canadiens aren’t the team I thought they were. And the answer to the question I asked in the headline will be a flat “no” in retrospect.
I see a team that has depth, talent and skill. But at a certain point, with them struggling the way that they are, even I’m starting to wonder if this is still a system or coaching issue. Especially on the power play.
I still believe on this team, but a loss tonight in Buffalo would make that belief take a hard hit in a way being dominated by Chicago and Calgary doesn’t do.