The Montreal Canadiens are officially off to their worst start to a season in 26 years. The San Jose Sharks scored twice in the first four minutes of the game and didn’t look back, crushing the Habs 5-0.
It felt like the Montreal Canadiens built up some seriously good will with their fan base after their magical run to the Stanley Cup final in July.
After only three months and four games, that good will is gone.
In less than two minutes, a team that has now averaged less than a goal per game were down by one. A miscommunication between defenceman Alexander Romanov and centreman Nick Suzuki in in-zone coverage left Sharks forward Timo Meier alone in front. San Jose defenceman Brent Burns fired the puck at the net and Meier tipped the shot past Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen to send the home team into a tailspin.
Things went from bad to worse for the Habs just over two minutes later. Defenceman Ben Chiarot pinched aggressively into the Sharks zone along the wall. Meier chipped a bouncing puck past him in to the neutral zone. Chiarot’s defensive partner David Savard took a bad angle and Logan Couture beat both Josh Anderson and Christian Dvorak up the middle of the ice. Couture’s shot was stopped but fell right to Jonathan Dahlen following up the rebound and put the puck into an empty cage for an easy 2-0 lead.
The shocked Canadiens tried to get to the first intermission only down by two. But that didn’t happen as San Jose added another with just seconds left in the period. Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson’s shot the puck looking for a tip. Unfortunately, the puck deflected off the skate of Savard and past Allen for the kill shot to put San Jose up 3-0.
Where’s the response?
The Montreal Canadiens didn’t look nearly as abject to start the second period. Christian Dvorak’s tip in the slot hit the right post before it was scrambled out of the crease by Sharks goaltender Adin Hill. It should have been a spark for the home team. But it didn’t generate much energy-wise and the team went back into a lull in all three zones
A strength for the team in their run to the Cup final was an exceptional penalty kill. But the team has been leaking goals down a man early and it continued in the second. Savard didn’t get out high enough to cut off Meier’s shot after some quick passing by San Jose. He made no mistake high blocker side on Allen to put an exclamation point on another embarrassing performance.
The Habs did have some chances the rest of the way. Hill stopped Anderson on a breakaway and then robbed Cole Caufield with the glove off a slot shot before the end of the period. But despite Caufield hitting the crossbar in the third and Chris Wideman missing an open net, the damage had already been done. Sharks forward Kevin Labanc ripped another shot bar down on the power-play late to add to the Habs misery.
The last time the Montreal Canadiens started 0-4 it was 1995. Head coach Jacques Demers and GM Serge Savard were fired soon afterwards. A fairytale finish to last season has turned into a nightmare start to this year. Up next is the vaunted Carolina Hurricanes and former teammate Jesperi Kotkaniemi Thursday night.