WINNING STREAK SNAPPED AT ONE


When the Montreal Canadiens initially released their February practice schedule, they had ice time pencilled in at their facility in Brossard for noon today.

Maybe they should use it.

Then again, why bother.  Nothing seems to be working for this Habs‘ team that fell 4-2 in Vancouver last night, in a game the featured more of the same:  catch-up hockey by the Canadiens; more miserable play by their so-called all-stars; and goal tending that’s not getting this team very far, with Jaroslav Halak the flavour of the night against Mats Sundin and the Canucks.

Ouch.  That one hurt.  Especially when Sundin set up Ryan Kesler on a 2-on-1 that was created when the Canadiens turned over the puck at the Vancouver blue-line to make it 4-1 early in the third and officially put this one out of reach.

Oh, look.  Another Montreal turnover.  So what else is new?

But, the Habs are back home.  For now.  They returned to Montreal in the wee hours of the morning for a day and a half of home cooking, before they hit the road again. 

You recall how much the Canadiens were looking forward to hitting the road?  The opportunity to get out from under the microscope at at a time when the team was struggling?  Well, after four games on the road, the Canadiens are still struggling.  And the future doesn’t look bright as they get set to embark for the final two stops of this six-game road trip.

Wednesday night they’re in Washington to face the red-hot Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals; Ovechkin scoring goals number 39, 40 and 41 on the season in last night’s 4-2 victory over the Florida Panthers.  And on Thursday, the Habs are in Pittsburgh where they will face the Penguins, who will have a new face behind the bench to replace Michel Therrien, who was fired yesterday.  His replacement:  Dan Bylsma, who moves up to the N.H.L. ranks after coaching the team’s A.H.L. affiliate in Wilkes Barre-Scranton. 

If nothing else, the Canadiens will be facing a Penguins team that will react to Therrien‘s dismissal with a dead-cat bounce.  Which means the Canadiens could very well return home from this road trip with a record of 1-5;  that one victory of the desperation variety against the Colorado Avalanche, one of the Western Conference bottom feeders.

I’m not going to bore you with any more of the details of last night’s loss.  Suffice to say it was more of the same for this Habs’ team that  has failed to win back-to-back games in exactly one month.  ONE MONTH.  Don’t believe me? Look it up yourself. 

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The last time the Canadiens won consecutive games was Jan. 15 when they beat Nashville 3-2, and followed that up with a 5-4 win over the Sens in a shootout, two nights later.

You’ll recall last year the Canadiens, when they LOST two in a row, always seemed to turn things around to avoid any extended losing skids.  THIS season, they’re having a hard time simply WINNING two in a row.

But that was last year.  When Alex Kovalev was tearing up the league.  When Carey Price was making Habs‘ fans forget about Christobal Huet with quality goal-tending.  When the power play was clicking.  When Sergei Kostitsyn was playing inspired hockey to the point where he was making big brother Andrei a better player.  When Thomas Plekanec…well…I could go on.  But why bother.

I mean, if this year’s edition of the Canadiens can’t bother, why should I?

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About ahefter

I have covered hockey extensively during my 30-year sports broadcasting career. From the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid to the Edmonton Oiler dynasty years, I've shared my views on hockey with listeners in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. You can "catch me in action" on Youtube at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n5BdB9ngYw My radio stops include TSN 690 Montreal, CJAD Montreal, CKNW Vancouver, and CKEY Toronto. I also ran the Canadian Press sports desk (radio). My travels as a network reporter have taken me to four Olympics, most recently Vancouver 2010. I'm currently an Applied Assistant Professor within the School of Communication at the University of Hartford.
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