With a rough weekend behind them and a three day break to prepare for a California trip where they will play three games in four nights. Montreal entered Anaheim searching for consistency versus a struggling Ducks team. Losing seven straight games Anaheim was the perfect opponent for the Habs to get back on track. Instead a number of bad decisions led to a painful game to watch leaving us all wondering what it’s going to take for this team to finally hit their stride.
The first period started off well enough as it only took the Habs 3:10 to get the first goal of the game. Brian Gionta started the play when his fore-check caused a turnover allowing him to poke the puck ahead to Tomas Plekanec. Plekanec then made a nice move before feeding the puck to an open Andrei Kostitsyn who easily beat Jonas Hiller with his shot.
Moments later Michael Cammalleri caused a turnover of his own entering the Ducks zone. He then riffled a shot wide creating a battle along the boards. The puck battle was won by the Habs and it eventually found itself on David Desharnais’ stick, who was posted in front of Hiller. Desharnais shot the puck instantly but Hiller made a brilliant save to keep it a one goal lead.
Things continued to go Montreal’s way until Anaheim took the first penalty of the game at the 13:00 mark. The penalty was the first of three consecutive penalties by the Ducks and the Habs lost all of their momentum during this stretch. Needless to say Montreal did not score as they looked completely lost trying to enter Anaheim’s zone.
The Habs failures on the power play gave the Ducks life as they started to go on the attack. This led to another bad decision by the players as they made an ill-advised line change with less than 20 seconds to play. This left the two defensemen alone with Anaheim attacking and ultimately led to Corey Perry finding an open Ryan Getzlaf for an easy goal tying things up at one.
Montreal’s collapse continued early in the second when Plekanec got called for a double minor for high sticking. With St-Denis already in the box, this gave Aneheim a 1:30 five on three power play. The Habs killed off the St-Denis penalty and managed to get through the first half of Plekanec’s double minor but not the second. After P.K. Subban tripped on a broken stick behind his own net, the puck made its way to Peter Budaj’s crease. This is when Devante Smith-Pelly crashed the net and beat all Hab defenders before putting it past Budaj.
Montreal really did not have an answer for the go ahead goal as they continued to struggle in the period and only forced Hiller to make routine saves. They had two other power play opportunities in the second half of the period which they also squandered making Anaheim’s penalty killers look good in the process.
The Habs got into penalty trouble again early in the third when Rafael Diaz got called for interference. This led to Perry redirecting a Francois Beauchemin point shot past Budaj for a two goal lead. Montreal then received another opportunity moments later when Bobby Ryan got called for boarding.
This horrible power play set the tone for the Habs the rest of the way as they were completely disorganized and looked uninterested. Maybe this would be a good time to fire Perry Pearn…. Oh yeah they already did that.
Anaheim coasted for the rest of the period and finally put the Habs out of their misery when Niklas Hagman scored an empty net goal at the 18:31 mark. The win snapped a seven game losing streak for the Ducks but it was not enough to save Randy Carlyle’s job as he was fired over night and replaced with Bruce Boudreau. Although this decision was most likely already decided before the game ended, it shows what beating the Habs means to other teams and it’s not much.
It’s time for Pierre Gauthier to bite the bullet and admit that the team’s problems are not associated with the assistant coach’s but rather with the head coach. Jacques Martin has simply lost this team and the longer we stick with him the further down the standings the Habs will slide. How else do you explain going 0 for 7 on the power play or for that matter how do you explain only getting three shots in the third period against a team who only won one game out of their last eleven.
Yes it’s time for a change but I’m afraid that it won’t come as Gauthier would rather point the finger at everybody else instead of himself or his coach. Maybe it’s time for the Molson’s to step in and clean house, they do want a winning team don’t they? All I know is that I don’t enjoy watching the Habs get embarrassed by team that they should beat.
Things will not be any easier tonight as Montreal will take on the San Jose Sharks and they will then travel to Los Angeles for an afternoon match up with the Kings. If we lose both games and nothing happens thereafter, someone needs to get their head checked.
HiD Three Stars
- Ryan Getzlaf
- Corey Perry
- Devante Smith-Pelly
HiD Turning Point
Montreal’s dismal power play allowed Anaheim to gain momentum and skate away with the victory.