RECAP | Rangers – Canadiens: No Answers for Habs

Canadiens Lineup

Forward lines

Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher

Artturi Lehkonen – Nick Suzuki – Joel Armia

Paul Byron – Max Domi – Jordan Weal

Charles Hudon – Jake Evans – Dale Weise

Defence pairings

Ben Chiarot – Shea Weber

Brett Kulak – Jeff Petry

Karl Alzner – Christian Folin

Goaltenders

Carey Price – Charlie Lindgren

Scratches

Jonathan Drouin

Injuries

Victor Mete, Xavier Ouellet

Game Report

“Honestly, I don’t know.”

Those were the words of Claude Julien following the game tonight. He was asked to explain a lack of desperation and why his team keeps giving up leads. When the head coach can’t figure out why it is happening, then blowing leads will continue.

And has it ever! There are a few ways to look at the futility of a Julien-coached system.

The Canadiens have blown two-goal leads 13 times this season, with six of those instances at home. Tonight, the Habs gave up five unanswered goals after taking a 2-0 lead.

The Canadiens still entered the third period with a 2-1 lead. However, Montreal is the 30th ranked team in the NHL, with just a .643 win percentage when leading after 40 minutes. The corresponding number for the Carolina Hurricanes, due into the Bell Centre for Saturday’s game, is a whopping .962.

So when Phillip Danault says, “We really have to learn how to play with a lead. It’s our biggest problem. We have to make sure it never happens again,” fans say, ‘too late Phil!’

But back to the coaching staff, because they are the folks who are paid to fix things, ensuring they never happen again. Julien remains frustrated. He told reporters, “Our  game plan is to go out there and play 60 minutes!”

If it was only that easy. Write a directive into the game plan and then sit back and watch the magic happen.

Sorry, Claude, someone who has coached in the NHL for almost two decades should know better. It doesn’t work that way.

The Habs power-play went 0-for-3 tonight and as we know, they have been struggling on the penalty-kill.

The Canadiens have just six home games left in the 2019-20 season. Tonight’s loss means that they have won just 13 of 35 games played at the Bell Centre.

In other words, not much is going right these days. Claude Julien says every decision is strategic. And Marc Bergevin has hinted that little will change for the folks in charge of the team next season.

So are Habs fans ready for more of the same?

The Canadiens next take the Bell Centre ice on Saturday night when they host the Carolina Hurricanes.

Plus / Minus

▲  Carey Price, Tomas Tatar

▼  Christian Folin, Karl Alzner, Dale Weise, Phillip Danault, Jordan Weal, Max Domi, Charles Hudon