The Montreal Canadiens were dealt a hard one on Tuesday, losing 8-1 to the Boston Bruins. Carey Price was pulled in the second period after giving up five goals in 11 shots.
The Canadiens have lost five straight, including a wrenching defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers Saturday. What made that loss painful was that the Habs held a four-goal lead at one point and lost the game 6-5.
Naturally, Montreal Twitter exploded in the usual litany of flustered demands. Price should be traded. Claude Julien should be fired. Marc Bergevin has to go. And so on.
Hockey’s fandom is very, very reactionary and this is no different, but the Canadiens’ struggles are real and need addressing.
After Tuesday’s shelling, they’re 11-8-5 – good for third in the Central Division. The powerhouse Bruins have only lost three games, for the record.
“You have two choices right now,” said forward Brendan Gallagher. “You can continue to fight and battle as a group, or you can choose to shy away from little bits of adversity. That’s the opportunity that we have right now — choose to fight and work our way out of this.”
“There’s always a way to turn things around,” said Price. “Every team goes through tough scenarios throughout a long season and right now we’re in one of those funks. We can’t dwell on it for too long. I’ve been in this game long enough to know you can’t pout your way out of a situation like this one.”
It goes without saying that Price, uncharacteristically, is also in “one of those funks.” He allowed six goals on 34 shots against the Rangers, after all, and came out for more of the same against the Bruins.
Price has to be better and he has to find that part of his game that helps the Habs steal a win now and again. He’s been astonishingly, well, normal and that’s not going to cut it.
“I would say that he’s a part of our team and we weren’t good enough tonight, so I think we know Carey is capable of being better,” said Julien Tuesday. “It wasn’t all his fault, but I can’t say he was excellent either.”
Traditionally, the Bruins have had Montreal’s number. At least lately. Boston is 8-2-1 against the Canadiens across the last 11 contests and they’ll face them again Sunday – the third of four encounters. For the sake of Price and the Habs and the sanity of hockey Twitter, you have to hope that meeting goes better than currently expected.
Photo credit: NHL.com