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The Canadiens looked (very) bad again against a bad team

Over the past few days, the Habs have performed very well against some big teams. They held off the Oilers, the NHL’s team of the hour, and beat the Avalanche. And all with Jake Allen in net.

Two unexpected performances.

We can also talk about the loss to the Flyers (a good team) and the win over the Devils (an ordinary team), but we must also talk about the losses to the Sharks and Sens last night.

They’re obviously bad teams.

It’s worth mentioning that both the Sharks and Sens have dominated the Habs in the two teams’ head-to-head meetings. Cole Caufield would tell you that’s because in both cases, it was a second game in two nights…

Because yes, right now, it’s the talk of the town. The fact that the Habs looked bad again in their second game in two nights isn’t exactly making fans happy.

And Cole Caufield’s comments, which can be seen as an excuse, don’t help.

Although I think he means it in the sense that the Habs have to deal with this reality (he’s borrowing a phrase from Martin St-Louis, who means it in that way), we can also ask ourselves how much of an excuse it is.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that the forward played better than most yesterday. In a 6-2 defeat, he scored his team’s first goal and took four shots on goal.

But hey. That’s not all we should remember about this game, in which many players didn’t perform well against one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League.

What do I take away from all this?

1. Cayden Primeau, who didn’t travel to Newark and went to bed at a normal hour, doesn’t have the excuse of fatigue to justify his rough outing. He gave the Sens five goals… and they weren’t always pretty ones.

I realize that the effort in front of him was… er… ordinary, but still: he needed to give more.

The example of the goal disallowed for obstruction at the end of the second period is obvious to me. After all, he may not have been able to see the puck (and it wasn’t a goal, mind you), but he didn’t fight like hell, did he?

It’s worth noting that Mario Dumont didn’t exactly love the way Primeau’s work – a major factor in the (big) loss – was analyzed on RDS.

2. It was a good opportunity for the Canadiens to finally win two games in two nights. It had won on Wednesday in New Jersey and the Senators were a challenge that could be taken… but it didn’t happen.

In the two-in-two, the Habs are 6-2-1 in the first games and 1-8 in the second.

3. Michael Pezzetta did what he had to do yesterday. He applied three checks, fought hard… and found the back of the net. He certainly played his part in the game.

He and Caufield played to their strengths. But the others? They didn’t. Joshua Roy didn’t build on his performance of yesterday… and he’s not the only one.

4. Brendan Gallagher and Tim Stützle don’t like each other. The Habs player once said that the Sens player’s numerous dives were embarrassing for the NHL – and he’s right, in my opinion.

Yesterday, the Sens player gave Gally (another) reason to cry.

The result? Gallagher tried to pick a fight with his Senators opponent. I imagine Gally suspected that his opponent would say no, but this probably allows him to say, even more, how cowardly Stützle is.

That said, it’s clear that yesterday’s Sens player, as cowardly as he was in Gally’s eyes, had no advantage in fighting at 5-1.

5. The Habs were trying to string together a third straight win for the first time this season. But for the sixth time this campaign, Martin St-Louis had to settle for a two-win streak.

It was Jacques Martin (wearing his Stanley Cup ring) who put the brakes on the Habs.

6. For the past eight games, the Canadiens have been giving away too many shots to their opponents. We’re talking about an average of 38 shots per game, which is way too many. We agree on that.

In front of a crowd that didn’t hate to see the Habs in action, let’s just say it wasn’t enough. It ended 37-23 in Ottawa’s favor.


The Canadiens have no practice today. The club will have to wait until tomorrow before hitting the ice in Boston, to prepare for the showdown with the Bruins.

It won’t be an easy game. Will Samuel Montembeault get the start? We’ll see.

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