RECAP | Capitals – Canadiens: Coach Out of Answers Following Habs Loss

Canadiens Lineup

Forward lines

Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Ilya Kovalchuk

 Max Domi – Nick Suzuki – Joel Armia

Artturi Lehkonen – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Ryan Poehling

Nick Cousins – Nate Thompson – Dale Weise

Defence pairings

Ben Chiarot – Shea Weber

Marco Scandella – Jeff Petry

Victor Mete – Brett Kulak

Goaltenders

Carey Price – Charlie Lindgren

Scratches

Cale Fleury, Jordan Weal

Injuries

Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher

Game Report

Losing is never fun, particularly in your home barn. And the Canadiens have been doing that more often than not. Montreal has now lost 17 of 27 games at the Bell Centre this season.

But the silver lining in the loss is that fans should once and for all, end the notion that their team will make the playoffs this Spring. The benefit is that, with clear thinking, a shift can take place from rooting for simple wins to building for the future.

The downfall for the Canadiens was in the second period. Sloppy play, bad decisions and poor execution typified the effort of the home team. But we have heard that before many times this season.

When the head coach was asked to explain the performance, he drew a blank. He said that he had no explanation. With Claude Julien being out of answers for the media and out of solutions for his players, it’s patently clear that it is time for him to be relieved of his duties. 

There’s no question that the Canadiens are undergunned and the roster is poorly assembled. That is the responsibility of Marc Bergevin and he should be held accountable.

But when players can perform in practice, but lose focus in games, then they aren’t performing to their potential and that’s the fault of the coaching staff.

The Canadiens penalty-kill is also something that has not be fixed on Julien’s to-do list this season. It continues to languish in the bottom-third of the league. The Capitals scored a power-play goal tonight and another goal within seconds of an expired penalty in just three opportunities.

As for the general manager, his top priority is to trade Ilya Kovalchuk. The 36-year-old has charmed Habs fans but is obviously not part of the Canadiens future.

Kovalchuk had an unproductive game against the Capitals but more concerning was the way he was roughed up: slashed on the hand, on the receiving end of a big hit by Radko Gudas and in a collision with teammate, Nate Thompson.

The Canadiens next play in Buffalo on Thursday night against the Sabres.

Plus / Minus

▲  Carey Price, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Artturi Lehkonen, Ryan Poehling

▼  Nate Thompson, Phillip Danault, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Ben Chiarot