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All eyes were turned towards Winnipeg tonight as the league wondered how the Canadiens would respond after their slump cost Julien and Muller their jobs. In the first frame, it looked like they had been jump started, we saw a more fluid offense, one that used the full width of the ice when attacking. More speed and transversal passes in the neutral zone, more risky but potentially more rewarding. We also saw the return of the long passes from the defensemen to forwards attempting to break away and after 20 minutes, it was 2-0. Everything wasn’t perfect though, far from it. The defensive play was messy and the players seemed confused about their defensive assignments. Still, Habs nation was hopeful…
And then the 2nd period started, Weber took the 7th penalty of the season for sending the puck overboard…That’s all the Jets needed to strike, they scored on the power play. The Canadiens didn’t waste anytime coming back though, scoring their own power play goal to take their 2-goal lead back but it would be their last one of the night. The rest of the game was all Jets. The Habs carried on taking penalties and Carey Price looked shakier by the minute.
I don’t know what’s happening with the Canadiens’ number 1 goaltender, but something is not right. He looks lost out there, his rebound control his gone, he has trouble tracking the puck and the smallest of mistakes seems to completely destroy his confidence. He used to be cool as ice and impossible to disturb, but that is no longer the case. Worst still, his body language out there shows and his teammates are noticing it. He use to fill them with confidence, but it is no longer the case. Tonight, he had the chance to get a fresh start and blew it, time to give more work to Allen and perhaps get Price some professional help. Yes, I’m talking about a sports psychologist, it worked wonders on Marc-André Fleury, why not give it a shot?
Something also has to be done about discipline, you cannot win if you take 5 penalties in the game and the defensive play which used to be a strength of this team, is now its Achile’s heel. Right now, it looks like Ben Chiarot has season tickets for the penalty box and it just cannot go on. Plenty to work on for the new coach and while the Habs did get a power play goal, but it came thanks to a Nathan Beaulieu brain fart and not because of a great play.
To make matters worst, Josh Anderson left the game in the first period after falling heavily on the ice after being slew footed. He didn’t return…we’ll know more about his health in the coming days. If you want to see the bright side of things, Joel Armia got his first points since coming back from injury by scoring a pair of goals and there is plenty of room for improvement. We’ll see how Ducharme’s second game goes on Saturday at 10:00 PM.