After losing a tight game against the Bruins, Montreal traveled to Chicago for a tilt against the Western Conference’s top team. Like the Boston game, the Habs held their own with the Blackhawks in the first period as neither team allowed a goal and they were equal in shots at seven a piece.
The period had an excellent pace to it as both teams appeared to be hungry but the goalies had the final word on all of the rubber that came there way. Chicago got the only penalty in the period but the Habs looked bad with the extra man as they could not set up a single play in the opposition’s zone.
The Habs open the scoring early in the second when they finally managed to get a power play goal off of the stick of Andrei Kostitsyn. Andrei was in perfect position on the play allowing him to deflect a Tomas Plekanec shot over Corey Crawford’s arm.
Everything was going ok until Andrew Brunnette got a lucky bounce off of P.K Subban. Brunnette tried to make a pass to net crashing Johnathan Toews but the puck never made it there. Instead the puck hit a back checking Subban and fooled Petr Budaj in the process to tie the game at one.
21 seconds later the Hawks caught the Habs napping when Patrick Sharp scored his 18th of the year. Budaj had no chance on the shot as it deflected off of Chris Campoli’s stick and changed direction. Just like that the Habs went from being up by one to being down by one.
Montreal tried to respond but Crawford was up to task and made a series of saves. His best save came off of Max Pacioretty’s stick when he managed to stop the puck with the nub of his stick. Patches looked upwards in disbelief as he can’t buy a goal as of late.
After two periods the Habs were only down by a goal and with the Hawks having played the night before we were led to believe that they could tie it up in the third. Unfortunately that was not the case as the Habs simply quit with the game within reach. How else do you explain only getting three shots on net during the entire period?
The Hawks came out looking like the fresher team and they were definitely the hungrier of the two. At 10:29 Viktor Stalberg put his team up by two. Toews followed that up with an empty net goal and Bryan Bickell put the cherry on top when he scored another with 11 seconds to go in the game. The Habs were simply out classed in the third period.
The third period collapse has brought up many questions. They got the Martin fired, are they trying to get rid of Gauthier as well? Is the team out of shape? Is there confidence really that fragile? Do they have any pride left? Did Martin damage the team so much that there is no hope left? Who knows if will ever know the answers to these questions but what happened last night is simply unacceptable.
Perhaps the biggest question is what happens if the Habs lose all of the games on this current road trip? Do they gut the team and hope to get a lottery pick. If that is the case, do we really want Gauthier to be the one making the decisions? After putting Cunneyworth in the hopeless situation he is currently in I would not want Gauthier making any decisions regarding this team’s future, period.
The players have one more chance to give Cunneyworth a win tonight before they all go home for the Christmas break. If they can pull it off it would be nice to see, as Cunneyworth deserves better than what he has been given so far.
HiD Three Stars
- Viktor Stalberg
- Brent Seabrook
- Bryan Bickell
HiD Turning Point
The Habs 3 shot performance in the third period gave the Hawks an easy victory.