That, in and of itself, is newsworthy.
But what’s also newsworthy is that goalie Al Montoya was between the pipes for all 10 Columbus goals.
Montreal headed into Columbus with a 9-0-1 record and hadn’t allowed any regulation losses. The backup to Carey Price allowed eight goals through the first two periods and allowed two more in the final frame, but the damage was done and Montoya entered the history books and joined some pretty good company.
By allowing eight or more goals ahead of the third period, the 31-year-old joined Patrick Roy as the only other Montreal goalie to do so.
Roy did it back in December of 1995, when he allowed nine goals by the Detroit Red Wings before the coach finally took mercy on him and yanked him from the net. He famously skated to the bench and told the team president that he was never going to play another game for the Habs and that was that. Roy was traded four days later.
With all due respect to Al Montoya, Al Montoya is no Patrick Roy.
But the comparisons are hard to shake in Montreal lore and the loss on Friday marked the team’s worst loss in 24 years, which is no small feat. The Blue Jackets cracked 40 shots at Montoya and he turned aside 30, while the Habs managed 30.
Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, Scott Hartnell, and Josh Anderson each scored two goals for Columbus. Alexander Wennberg had a four-point night. Seth Jones and David Savard had the other goals for the Blue Jackets.
And believe me, Columbus has a lot to be proud of with the big win. They set a franchise record with the 10-goal performance, plus they became the first team since the St. Louis Blues in 2011 to reach double-digits in goal.
But the blowout raises at least a question or two for Montreal.
For one, is it time to admit that the Canadiens are nothing without Price in goal? There have been rumblings of this team’s lack of capacity for pulling out a significant string of wins without their top player, but Friday’s debacle speaks volumes. It was an embarrassing loss.
For another, what was head coach Michel Therrien thinking? The Blue Jackets pulled out to a 3-0 lead after the first period, at which point the game and the team’s self-esteem was still within reach. A move could’ve changed the tide, but Therrien stuck with Montoya and the Habs dropped the ball completely after that.
One has to think even Mario Tremblay would’ve made a better call. Maybe.
The result was a mortifying loss that not only sank the undefeated streak but did so in the worst way possible. The Canadiens now not only have a loss to get over, they have the disgrace of this blowout to contend with. And that’s a shame that could’ve been easily avoided.