When is enough going to be enough for the Montreal Canadiens?
For the players? The coaching staff? The general manager? How about the owner?
The only people who appear to have actually had enough of this abomination is the fans.
The Habs conspired to turn the Bell Centre into part-funeral home, part-boo barn as they were crushed 6-0 by the Pittsburgh Penguins to fall to 4-13-2 on the season.
The Montreal Canadiens are a disgraceful hockey team at the moment.
Asleep at the wheel
In a game that harkened back to early games against Buffalo and San Jose, the Canadiens just didn’t show up for the first period. In any way, shape or form.
The worst part? On a night where five kids were in the lineup, it was the veterans who sabotaged the team early.
Jeff Petry continued to play his worst hockey as a Hab. His attempted pass at the blueline to fellow turnover machine Brendan Gallagher led to a Penguins odd-man rush. It was as easy as tic-tac-toe for Pittsburgh as Montreal Canadiens killer Sidney Crosby finished it off for his first of the year and a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the contest.
Getting scored on early did little to trouble the Habs. They continued to sleepwalk through the first period. Their only true chance of the period was a drive into the zone by rookie Mattias Norlinder. He created a passing lane for Jonathan Drouin to find Christian Dvorak in the slot. The Habs centreman proceeded to miss the net by a mile from six feet out.
After that, the rout was on.
The Penguins league worst power-play got in on the action against the Habs 29th ranked penalty kill. Danton Heinen accepted a lively bounce off the Canadiens boards in the slot and beat an out of position Cayden Primeau to make it 2-0.
The cherry on the poop Sundae? How about a 4-on-2 after a terrible change and walkabout by Petry? Primeau should have done better on Jake Guentzel’s screened shot to be fair. But a horrendous period of hockey justifiably ended at 3-0.
Kids try to create a spark
The only good moment from the Montreal Canadiens was about a four minute stretch of hockey in the second period. Cole Caufield played like he never wanted to see Laval again while Norlinder played like a ten-year veteran. Caufield had a magical shift where he put the puck between his legs driving to the outside and nearly surprised Tristan Jarry with an elevated backhand. The Habs forward then proceeded to deke his way through two Penguins to get into the slot but couldn’t pull the trigger. He found the puck again along the boards and found Norlinder all alone at the left point. The silky Swede, with his head up all the way, fired a perfect half-clapper for Tyler Toffoli to tip into an open net but he inexplicably whiffed to his dismay.
That flurry of offense seemed to energize the Montreal Canadiens for about five shifts. But they retreated back into poor puck management, bad in-zone coverage and missed passes in the neutral zone.
What is happening?
The game turned into a rout with just over six minutes left in the second. On a 3-on-3, Ben Chiarot inexplicably vacated his position in the middle of the ice to challenge the Penguins at the Habs blueline. The puck popped out to Zach Aston-Reese on a 2-on-0 with Teddy Blueger. It was as simple as pass and shoot in the slot to make it 4-0 for the visitors.
Unfortunately for Caufield, who looked the liveliest of all the Canadiens forwards, he lost Brock McGinn in front of the Habs net as he tipped in a point shot to make it 5-0. But the game was over long before that.
Dominique Ducharme mercifully pulled Primeau before the third. The Habs went through the motions, trying to get the heck out of the Bell Centre. Artturi Lehknonen and Caufield had the best chances the final 20 minutes but they couldn’t prevent Jarry’s shutout. Blueger scored his second of the game with seconds to spare in regulation on a breakaway to add insult to injury.
The Montreal Canadiens have crashed down to earth once again. The Habs seem destined to be stuck in a never-ending nightmare this season. They are back in action Saturday night against the Nashville Predators.