The Montreal Canadiens showed that they can score, even when riddled with injuries. They beat Ottawa soundly with a 7-1 final score, with Plekanec and Kostitsyn both having big nights and Pacioretty showing that a hit to the ribs isn’t enough to slow him down.
It was a great night to be a Habs fan and in predictable fashion, they poured into Scotiabank Place, making sure to dampen any party that Ottawa may think of having on its own ice. The obnoxious fanbase wasn’t disappointed and those who have jumped on the Carey Price bandwagon after he famously told Montreal fans to chill out, it was a good time all around.
As for Ottawa, they went from trying to salvage bad luck games by playing through it to just losing it. The game against Philadelphia was a terrible one for Ottawa’s morale, with the loss of Carkner and Ruutu and seeing both goaltenders stripped. The defense was pockmarked and running after itself, with Filip Kuba’s mistakes piling up and Gonchar continuing to underwhelm. With good solid effort from Bobby Butler going unrewarded, it seems like the hockey gods hate Ottawa.
Milan Michalek, Chris Kelly, Chris Campoli and Mike Fisher are still trying on the ice and it’s good to see that they have done better all around, picking up penalties, stacking up chances on net and even fighting when they get the chance. But the rest of the team can’t get it together. The defense is a disaster. The offense is non-existent. The goaltending would be better if they got some support- but it’s clear that they’re starting to lose confidence as well, in themselves and in their teams.
Clouston started Mike Brodeur with the idea that Ottawa needed a change to turn their luck around. But Brian Elliott has not been the one to blame in the past few losses and the team hasn’t rewarded his efforts to keep the team in close games with any goal support. So it was no wonder that this strategy came to nothing. It wasn’t the goaltending that needed a shakeup, it was clearly the rest of the team.
Ottawa’s inability to employ a tight man on man defense and to stop from turning the puck over in the neutral zone is killing them. The gaps in their defense are causing great big holes for the opposition to cruise in and light up the lamp. No wonder that the goaltenders are playing with zero confidence. Ottawa is also losing the puck often, playing a highly undisciplined game where they either drop pass to nobody or can’t connect on their passes. Poor puck control and steals are making the multiple efforts by the forwards good for nothing.
Ottawa’s best offense right now would be a good defense. Not so that they can win more games moving forward; but so that they don’t embarrass themselves any further.The last thing that Ottawa wants to become is the NHL’s bottom feeder- especially since that role is generally reserved for our well-known counterparts in Toronto.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.