Just when you think they’ve figured things out, it’s back to the drawing board.
The Montreal Canadiens lost to the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 5-2 on Saturday afternoon in another matchup they should win.
The Kings hadn’t won since their first game of the year. They were missing future Hall Of Famer Drew Doughty and featured a blueline with many names avid hockey fans wouldn’t recognize. They can’t defend, allowing the fifth most goals heading into this game.
Montreal came into the game winners of two of their last three, trying to build momentum and finish the road trip on a high.
It didn’t matter.
Instead, Montreal was flat and lifeless looking like they would rather spend time on the beach than on the ice.
“Yeah, we do (have to play with more passion), it takes a certain level of compete, a certain level of work to win in this league every night,” said defenseman Ben Chiarot. “Right now, we’re not willing to give that on a consistent basis and our results show that.”
Their start wasn’t horrible, they scored the first goal of the game for just the third time this season. Josh Anderson opened things up on a nice feed from Nick Suzuki.
But in the second period, Montreal didn’t skate. The Kings dominated the frame and got goals from Viktor Avridsson and Arthur Kaliyev.
Before the Canadiens could show any pushback in the third, LA got the insurance marker from Rasmus Kupari. Cheating and looking for offense, Montreal quickly surrendered another goal scored by Adrian Kempe. Alex Iaffalo padded the lead.
In garbage time, Chiarot scored a goal. Too little, too late.
The final score was 5-2, but it felt much worse. The early season struggles continue.
Montreal has been outscored 29-7 in their losses. When they get knocked down, they don’t get up again.
“There has to be the accountability aspect within one another,” said Toffoli.
There was a long team meeting after the game and even though the Canadiens’ players won’t say what was discussed, you can’t imagine it was pleasant.
A penalty-kill that couldn’t kill a fly
Montreal gave up two more powerplay goals and they seem to all come from the same spot. The top of the circle is a shot that the Canadiens seem fine giving up and when they do, the opposition makes them pay. The Kaliyev goal was another example of making things too easy. The penalty kill ranks in the bottom five of the league.
Don’t put this one on the goaltender
After his stellar 45 save shutout performance, you’d think the Canadiens would want to play hard in front of goaltender Jake Allen. Instead, it was another game where the shot clock reads more than 30 and Allen is hung out to dry. If some of the players up front battled as hard as their goaltender, the results wouldn’t be so hard to swallow.
Tyler Toffoli received a nice standing ovation and a welcome back tribute video at the first television timeout. He looked emotional after spending 8-seasons with the Kings winning the Stanley Cup in 2014. The tribute will pale in comparison to the ovation Phil Danault will get when the Kings visit the Bell Centre on Nov 9.