5-2 loss to Columbus. Is there an echo in here?
While Michel Therrien was singling out P.K. Subban for a pair of giveaways to Brandon Dubinsky that led to the third and fourth Columbus goals “…plays you expect your best defenseman to make” (Subban had already called himself out before Therrien met the media) the coach might have added, prompted by a question or not, that there was more than one player responsible for this loss.
So I’ll do it instead.
- Max Pacioretty. Already down 1-0 because of a bad penalty the Habs captain inexplicably chopped the skates out from under Alexander Wennberg in the neutral zone. With Pacioretty in the penalty box, Scott Hartnell scored to give Columbus a 2-0 lead with just 41 seconds to play in the first period. Therrien’s reaction was to put Pacioretty back on the ice for the face off to start the very next shift. To say Pacioretty played an uneventful eight and a half minutes before taking Subban’s shot up high is like saying the Habs are in a bit of a slump. While Subban has made his share of mistakes he has produced offense in virtually every game (3 goals & 10 points in his last 9 games. Sits 5th in the entire NHL this season in assists) Pacioretty is pointless in his last four games.
- Torrey Mitchell. Took all the momentum away from a fairly strong start when he grabbed a hold of Brandon Dubinsky deep in Blue Jackets territory. The Colombus power play needed just 8 seconds to open the scoring.
- Tomas Plekanec. Overall face off numbers look gaudy (69%) but he was cleanly beaten by Wennberg on the face off that followed the Mitchell penalty. Seconds later the puck was in the Montreal net and Columbus was on its way. Couldn’t generate anything playing between Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk. Plekanec is pointless in his last five games.
- Andrei Markov. Horrendous give away behind his own net while killing off the Pacioretty penalty gave Columbus the puck and a two goal lead. This one-time offensive defenseman hasn’t scored a goal since November 11th in Pittsburgh (33 games).
- David Desharnais. Was given Pacioretty again – with Brian Flynn as their RW – but couldn’t manage a single shot at the net while ending the night minus 3. Yet still played over 19:00. Not even RDS could find a Desharnais “highlight” while burying Subban. Desharnais has two goals in his last 29 games. Maybe he’s just not paid to score goals.
- Tomas Fleischmann. His line mates Lars Eller and Devante Smith-Pelly looked ok. So how did he manage just one shot on goal while also ending up minus 3? Flesichmann has one goal in his last 18 games.
- Jeff Petry. Has quite the streak going. He’s been in the minus column for seven consecutive games (-9 overall, -7 this season). Has to learn to walk the line. Too many of his shots are getting blocked by a defender who’s closest to him. Petry hasn’t scored a goal since December 12 (16 games).
- Power Play. Finally connected in the third period (Subban to Galchenyuk – 1st third period goal scored by the Habs in nine games) but overall was just 1-6. Was so bad early on that Therrien threw out the Eller line with Feischmann and Smith-Pelly.
- Ben Scrivens. Looked a lot like Dustin Tokarski. We’ve gotten used to the Montreal Canadiens having the second best goalie on the ice on most nights. But to watch both Mike Condon and Scrivens outgoaled on successive nights by a third string net minder behind the worst team in the league is a new low.
So yeah why not single out P.K. Subban? Maybe he’s the one guy who doesn’t need the coach – any coach. Because for all of his mistakes Subban is a hockey version of the Harlem Globetrotters. But he’s playing with the Washington Generals.