Canadiens Fail To Show Up In Embarrassing Loss To Red Wings
The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, in what can only be described as one of the worst games in recent memory.
Montreal lost 5-0, and we’ll get into the defensive lapses shortly, but there’s one brilliant bit of poetry written in the late 8th century BC that sums up the situation perfectly.
“So, surrender to sleep at last. What a misery, keeping watch through the night, wide awake — you’ll soon come up from under all your troubles.” – Homer (Greek Poet).
It’s true. The misery should lead to glory, but that’s not the first thing that comes to mind when a team gets shut out in back-to-back games.
In this particular case, I am going to also quote my favourite poet named Homer, one that thrived in the 20th century.
His poetry is a little more accurate when it comes to describing the effort level provided by the Canadiens on Tuesday night.
“That team sure did suck. They just plain sucked. I’ve seen teams suck before but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.”
Show Me The Effort
Before we get into the details of the game, we need to discuss the effort level presented by Canadiens players down the stretch.
Or rather, we need to discuss the lack of effort presented by Canadiens players down the stretch.
Nick Suzuki never gives up and Mike Matheson plays every shift as if it were Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, which is what you expect from the leaders of the team. Brendan Gallagher and Jake Evans are known for giving their all on most shifts, but that’s just about where the list ends.
Ever since the Canadiens lost both Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Alex Belzile to injuries, the team has lacked a certain punch throughout the lineup, which is rather disappointing given the aforementioned players were AHL call-ups rather than NHL regulars.
Of course, the laundry list of injuries does not help the situation, but from an individual standpoint, the level of engagement from many Canadiens players isn’t just disappointing, it shows a certain lack of pride in the logo they’re representing.
We often say there’s nothing left to play for in the season, and from an organization standpoint, that may be true, but that’s not an excuse for the players to book an early summer vacation.
No one expects the Habs to dominate, especially with the dearth of talent in the lineup, but fans are using their hard-earned money to buy tickets to these games, they deserve to witness an honest effort.
Primeau Left To Rot
Unfortunately for Cayden Primeau, it seems like some of his defencemen have already checked out of the season.
It was quite apparent the young goaltender was going to be left to his own devices early in the first period when the Red Wings simply had to walk their way into a high-danger scoring area to score their first goal of the game.
Not only did the Canadiens’ defence show terrible gap control by not making any effort to slow down the rush, but they also gave up prime real estate as if they were the French trying to make a quick buck during the Louisiana Purchase.
To put the final cherry on their suck sundae, Joel Edmundson decided to screen Primeau, who will surely be blamed because he was too deep in his net.
The issue here wasn’t that Primeau was too deep. The issue was that Primeau did not anticipate his defence would fold like a cheap suit and allow the Red Wings to get into a prime scoring area so quickly.
It also did help that Joel Armia was slow to cover for Jonathan Kovacevic, but Armia was hardly the main catalyst of the defensive collapse. That honour belongs to Edmundson.
Razor 🎯 pic.twitter.com/3CT3uhVg30
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 4, 2023
I don’t mean to harp on Edmundson, but let’s go ahead and point out the second mistake of the night that led to a Red Wings goal featuring No.44.
His intentions were good, he wanted to support the attack, but he was a little slow to get back to his spot at the blue line, and his defensive partner, Kovacevic, was none the better.
In this case, the bulk of the blame belongs to Kovacevic, but it was yet another poor showing for the pairing.
They allowed David Perron to stream in on Primeau, unchallenged.
It was the type of breakaway that forwards dream of, given Perron had time to file his taxes before he decided where to shoot.
Kovacevic is expected to support the attack, and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t given explicit orders by Martin St-Louis to do so whenever the opportunity arises.
But Edmundson is simply not that type of player, nor should he try to become one. He’s supposed to be the insurance policy on a pairing that features a defenceman that will take risks.
.@DP_57 in the clear! #LGRW pic.twitter.com/yTdzmiW14O
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 4, 2023
Game, Set, Terrible Match
At the risk of sounding like a Primeau apologist, the third goal of the game was once again due to a complete defensive collapse by the players that are supposed to be helping the young goaltender make the next big step in his career.
This time it was Justin Barron who suffered a brain fart, fumbling the puck in a high-danger area, which led to a prime scoring chance for Mike Luff, who made no mistake to score his second goal of the year.
It would be nice to see Primeau make a save in this situation, but very few goaltenders could have done much with the bush-league defence the Canadiens offered up on Tuesday night.
Maybe a prime Dominik Hasek could have pushed it to a shootout, but that’s about it.
Look at that it's Luff! #LGRW pic.twitter.com/L76u4WQdpc
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 5, 2023
Farrell had a few good scoring chances, and though he whiffed on two of them, the most important thing to remember in this case is that he’s finding open space, which was always the worry as he transitioned his game to the professional level.
Much like Cole Caufield, Farrell needs time and space to make an impact, which, to be fair, is the case with most NHL players making their professional debut.
We’re seeing that Farrell knows how to find open ice, and once he finds his shooting rhythm those half chances will turn into high-danger scoring chances, which is exactly what you want from a young player.
The Canadiens are back in action on Thursday night, facing the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM ET.
All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick.
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I disagree with most of this article. THIS was not the worst Habs game of the season – not even close. Have we completely forgotten the back to back games in late Dec vs FL and Wash, in which the Habs lost 7-2 and 9-2 respectively? Oh, and then last month, where FL scored SEVEN goals against the Habs in the first period!
This team is beyond decimated with injuries, which have clearly taken their toll on the remaining Habs players. They look exhausted – physically and mentally. At least 3/4 of them are playing either out of position, or in a position that is above where they should be. Let’s cut them some slack at this point of another bad season – with only 4 games remaining. And, mind you, the Habs actually out-shot the Wings last night 24-21…so I could not have been THAT bad.
At this point, I’ll take the crappy play, because Ariz is doing just the same right now, so it may indeed take a pointless end to this season to preserve the 5th pick.