Rabid Habs

Postgame: Habs a No-Show in Ottawa, 3-0 Sens

With a game like this, it’s hard to find a spot to begin.

Since the game was a dud, let’s start with the atmosphere.

Say what you want about outdoor games, the NHL does a decent job at the presentation. The jerseys looked great (Ottawa’s looked better as part of a full uniform, and Montreal’s was good in its own right), and the sight-lines were fun. Watching the game from the floating camera that goes the length of the ice is always my favorite part. Bryan Adams? Not too shabby. I’ll admit that the opening reenactment was a bit odd, but it was well done.

On the other hand, the Canadiens did absolutely nothing well in the actual game against the Senators. Behind the eight-ball all night, Montreal was unable to generate… well, anything. The Habs generated a few chances in the third period, but at that point the game was all but over.

Even though there were no goals scored in the first, Ottawa was clearly the better team. After a brief feeling-out period, Ottawa took the play to the Canadiens. Carey Price was sharp and kept Montreal in a game that saw the Senators generate 15 shots in the first period alone.

Nearly 35 minutes in, the tie was broken by a name that Habs’ fans are all too familiar with.

Pageau.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau, parked in front of Price with about four other players, deflected an Erik Karlsson shot over Price’s shoulder and into the net. Pageau’s fourth goal of the year was ultimately the game winner, but the Sens tacked on two more goals in the third.

In what can only be described as a brain fart, Jonathan Drouin gifted Bobby Ryan a breakaway with poor puck management in his own zone. Ryan gave Price a fake before shooting low to the stick side for his third of the year. The scoresheet says “unassisted” next to his name, but the only thing Drouin needed for the assist was a Senators sweater.

An empty net goal from no-trade-clause Nate Thompson (yeah, he’s got a no trade clause) would seal an embarrassing game for the Habs.

Drouin

It’s not fair to pin the whole game on him. He made the most noticeable mistake of the evening, but you have to score to win games and no one else in white came close to doing that. And no, Jonathan Drouin hasn’t looked good since retiring from his injury, but the whole roster could use a shakeup. This team cannot score goals in its current configuration.

With all that said, I just got done praising him for his reliability in the defensive zone in my last postgame following the win over New Jersey and then he does that. It’s the kind of thing that probably drives Claude Julien bananas.

It’s also the sort of thing that forced another player out of the position entirely.

Faceoffs

I know we make a lot of faceoff numbers, but they might have had an impact on Saturday night’s game. The Senators noticeably dominated the dot to the tune of 71%. You don’t need to win every faceoff, but you can’t get embarrassed and expect to win. Montreal chased the puck all night, and faceoffs may have been the reason why.

Price

He was excellent. Price made 35 saves on 37 shots as his save percentage keeps on climbing. Montreal’s only great player Saturday night. Price kept the door open for a comeback as long as he could, but the Drouin giveaway coupled with the Habs inability to create any sort of offense sealed the deal. He’s put up two absolute gems in a row, only allowing one against New Jersey, and his team has scored just two goals.

Ice Time

Another game, another baffling night of deployment. Brendan Gallagher, who recorded three shots on goal against Ottawa, played 12:46.

Forwards to play less than that: Byron Froese (12:36) and Daniel Carr (12:03).

Considering that Gallagher has been the best forward for Montreal this season, it’s hard to imagine guys like Nicolas Deslauriers playing more than him.

Max Pacioretty

After a game like this, and after the struggles he’s had, I think it’s hard to go after Pacioretty. He had four shots, one of which hit Craig Anderson’s glove and the post before bouncing away. Not recorded in his shots on goal was a puck he had a hard time corralling in front of an empty net. The captain is getting his chances, and he’s not the only one on the team not scoring.

That will do it for me. The dreaded western Canadian road trip begins on Tuesday with a trip to Vancouver. For those of you who don’t stay up for the late games (I don’t blame you), come back here Wednesday morning for your recap.

Go Habs Go.

Follow Ian on Twitter @BoisvertIan and follow @RabidHabs for more updates! 

One Comment

  1. Scott Currie

    December 17, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Julien continues to mismanage this whole lineup. His inability to use players tot heir strengths was the key reason for his exit from Boston. The team he is now chasing for that last playoff spot in their division. If he continues and Bergy can’t find an offensive scorer, then this team will be outside looking in come playoff time yet again. Drouin is not nor will he ever be a centre. He can’t win face offs.