Well that was quite a New Year’s Eve bash! The Canadiens were up 3-0 on a Carolina Hurricanes squad that looked just about as bad as their record – they’re 12th place in the East this morning – but those same ‘Canes scored four goals in a seven-minute span in third period to take control of the game.
P.K. Subban later scored to tie it at 4-4 but, as was bound to happen, Carolina scored again to completely humiliate Montreal.
Who gives up a 3-zip lead to a mediocre team? Your Montreal Canadiens.
Carey Price made a crack about his team being a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde case a few weeks back and he was right on the mark. You just never know which persona will show up in any given night.
It was the good guy at the start of last night’s game and then the really bad one later on. Though let’s be honest, the 3-0 lead was less the Habs looking good and much more the ‘Canes looking horrific.
It was a disappointing end to a disappointing year in the Habs Nation. Now you Tricolore boosters are going to say they finished in decent position last season – second in the east – and are in a good spot today – tied for third in the eastern conference.
But as St. Bob once put it, it’s all just an illusion to me now.
Look what happened last spring. That second-place team was crushed in the first round by a not-great Ottawa Senators team and that was following an embarrassing late-season Habs collapse. There’s a similar sleight of hand going on this year. Yes they’re tied for third in the east but that’s only ’cause of that crazy three-week run where they didn’t lose. Since then, they’ve looked pretty bad most night, even the nights where they’ve squeezed out a victory (like that sad-sack 2-1 win over the Lightning on the weekend).
They’re where they are for one reason and one reason only – Carey Price. Pricer has been stellar all season – one of the bigger surprises of the fall for us Price doubters – and he’s kept Les Boys in it nearly every night. The other key guy is, of course, Max Pacioretty, who, with his second goal Tuesday night, now has 17 on the season.
Not to put a fine point on it, they have trouble scoring and there are plenty of huge disappointments in that department. Brian Gionta has five goals in 40 games; David Desharnais has four in 39 games; Daniel Briere has five in 29 games; Lars Eller has nine in 41 games. All of these guys need to score more goals than that if the Habs are to go anywhere.
As the New Year’s Eve fright-night show proved, this remains one fragile team. It doesn’t take much to spook them and that, do I really need to add, is not a good psychic profile for playoff action.
Happy New Year!