Habs Humiliated by Last Place Avalanche
The Montreal Canadiens players had to sit for two whole days hearing about how they were playing against the last place team, how they could absolutely not afford to lose this game, how the next addition to the team was in town in Matt Duchene. It came as no surprise to this blogger that the team was stuck in neutral once the puck hit the ice and the Montreal Canadiens were completely run out of the building by a much more desperate Avalanche team. The list of things that have gone wrong over the last four games could be made into a novella, but here a few things that Michel Therrien, his staff, and his players need to correct before Thursday night’s contest in Arizona.
1. Stop line juggling for a couple games. The guys are already playing with diminished confidence, now is not the time to have them looking for their line mates to boot.
2. The team needs to get back to playing to their individual strengths. Weber, Emelin and Pateryn need to start punishing teams who try to carry the puck into the Montreal zone. Shaw, Mitchell, McCarron, Danault need to play some physical hockey so that guys like Galchenyuk, Pacioretty, Lehkonen and Radulov have room to operate.
3. Return to basics. As mentioned above, the D have to stop giving up their own blue line and trust that Price will effectively play the puck when the opposition dumps it in. Likewise, their forwards have the advantage of speed. If the opposition starts standing up at the blue line, dump it in the corner and get there before they do. Once they start cheating to get to said corner, then carry the Habs can carry it in.
4. Lineup adjustments need to be made. Pateryn needs to play instead of Nesterov. Too many offensively-minded defenders, with not enough physical defenders is a bad combination. Ask the Florida Panthers. McCarron needs to be called up instead of playing Andrighetto or De La Rose. In fact, McCarron needs to play ahead of Desharnais right now. And if Desharnais is in the line up, in no way, shape or form should he be on the power play.
5. Challenge your best to be your best. This slump won’t end on the shoulders of Jacob De La Rose, Torrey Mitchell, Nikita Nesterov or Paul Byron. Vincent Damphousse was spot on last night when he said that Therrien should reunite Pacioretty-Galchenyuk-Radulov and challenge them to be the best players on the ice on Thursday night. Likewise, Markov and Weber play on the first PP unit until they figure it out. Time for the big pay checks to earn it… I’m looking at you, Tomas Plekanec.
Tune in late Thursday as the Habs visit the Coyotes at 9pm. There will be surely much to talk about until then as this four game can’t be sitting well with management considering the teams they’ve faced.
Thanks for reading,
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