The dreaded two-goal lead. The Canadiens could tell you all about those this season.
It wasn’t any different Thursday night against the New York Rangers, where they allowed five unanswered goals after holding a 2-0 lead partway through the game. The Canadiens have now lost a league-most 10 games when leading after two periods this season, including six regulation losses and four overtime and/or shootout losses.
“I don’t know what to say,” Canadiens forward Tomas Tatar said. “We had 40 great minutes and we were really happy about our hockey game. We just dropped. I don’t think (the Rangers) played any better. I don’t know if we were worried to close the game. Something’s got to change.”
If you’ve come to this article expecting any answers on why the Montreal Canadiens can’t seem to hold a lead in a game, you won’t find them here. But if you do, the Canadiens would like to know.
“I have no idea,” Canadiens head coach Claude Julien said. “We’re able to play 40 minutes. We’re not able to play 60. We encourage the players to play 60 minutes. We tell them to play on toes, not on our heels in the third period.
“We can’t play for the players. At some point, it has to come from them, to stop saying they’re lacking confidence and to start playing the right way.”
It feels like a broken record at this point: the Habs start a game well, Carey Price does great in goal, and the Canadiens seem like they’ll be in business. Reality soon sets in, and the Canadiens can’t hold onto their advantage.
Blown leads have ultimately led to dropped points for the Canadiens, pushing them further out of playoff contention. Fans have already tried to etch out blown leads against the Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings.
A blown lead is no longer surprising, it’s almost seen as the inevitable now. It has been frustrating for Habs fans to see throughout the season, and just as frustrating for the players who don’t know why it keeps happening.
“There’s no real reason why it happens, but we’ve got to be better,” Canadiens forward Max Domi said.
There are 16 games left in the Canadiens’ season, one that likely won’t go into the postseason. There is time to make it better, but it’s already too little too late.
During Claude Julien’s postgame press conference Thursday night, the head coach was asked about whether or not Carey Price was starting to feel worn down. Here’s his full answer.
“I’m not even going there,” Julien said. “Guys, ask questions that make sense. To me, he’s had a day off between every game, and he doesn’t skate in the mornings. He made some unbelievable saves tonight. So, we’re going to look at one goal that went through and say ‘is he tired?’ How about the saves he made? Come on, guys. Really.”
Julien clearly wasn’t happy about the question, but it’s a valid one. Price made his 11th consecutive start and his 17th in the Habs’ last 18 games.
But perhaps the next question to ponder is: is there a point for Price to play through all these games?
The Canadiens have a healthy backup goaltender in Charlie Lindgren who could use more time in net. He could stand to make a case for himself as a backup goaltender option for next season, but the team hasn’t properly afforded him that chance.
You could argue it’s because the team is still pursuing the postseason, but their chances have been low for weeks.
If Carey is healthy, he should absolutely play. But does he need to play 10 games in a row now?
It’s the best of the liveblog, folks. There’s some love for Tomas Tatar’s 2-0 goal, and then there’s Hockey Nobody’s comment. I read it aloud to journalists postgame and it got quite the hearty laugh.
On the bright side I won my pro-line bet. Habs are money in the bank to lose, especially at home. Thanks to MB I am $2,79 richer. 🙂
The losers cried they are pushing for the playoffs. They are disgrace to the CH crest, the city and the fans. Forget trades or drafts. Who wants to trade for any of the losers? Nobody. Enough with the embarrassments. Never mind reset or rebuild. Stop the embarrassment and disgrace. Fold the team. Fold. Period.
I’ve learned my lesson. Not getting excited by the early leads.