In the Habs Room: We weren t in it, disappointed Gallagher says
|Montreal Gazette 11 Jan 2019 at 07:21|
Blues Sammy Blais beats Canadiens goaltender Carey Price on a breakaway during third period Thursday night in St. Louis. Billy Hurst / Associated Press
ST. LOUIS â€” Brendan Gallagher said the Canadiens got the result they deserved Thursday when they were in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.
â€śThey scored two breakaways and we gave up a power-play goal and they scored a short-handed goal,â€ť Gallagher said. â€śWhen you donâ€™t do those little things, you donâ€™t give yourself a chance to win.â€ť
The Canadiens are fighting for a playoff spot, but they didnâ€™t help themselves with this performance. They slipped out of the second wild-card spot and the teams they are chasing have multiple games in hand. The Islanders and the Sabres are tied in points with 52, one more than the Canadiens. The Islanders have three games in hand, while the Sabres have played two fewer games.
â€śWhen you lose a game, you want to put it behind you, but you want to get on a little streak because everyone else is going to start winning,â€ť Gallagher said. â€śYou canâ€™t win one and lose one. Itâ€™s so important to get points, to be in games, and tonight was disappointing because we werenâ€™t in it.â€ť
There were a couple of disturbing themes in this game.
The power play produced a goal for the first time in six games, but it fell into the fluke category as a pass by Gallagher went in off the skate of the Bluesâ€™ Alex Pietrangelo. The power play also allowed a short-handed goal that gave St.Louis a 2-0 lead in the first period.
â€śThey scored on a power play and then they scored a short-handed goal and weâ€™re down 2-0,â€ť captain Shea Weber said. â€śIt sounds like a broken record because weâ€™ve been talking about it all year.â€ť
Montreal finished the night 1-for-6 on the power play. The game was already over when they were handed a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:12 late in the third period and they failed to get a shot on goal. Weber did unload one of his slapshots, but it hit a post. The Canadiens have not scored a 5-on-3 power-play goal all season.
The Canadiens are last in the league on the power play and they arenâ€™t much better when it comes to winning faceoffs.
But 34 per cent?
That was Montrealâ€™s winning percentage in the faceoff circle and that was only because they put on a third-period push after being stuck at 18 per cent after two periods. When you donâ€™t win faceoffs, itâ€™s impossible to play aÂ puck possession game and itâ€™s impossible to use your speed to create offence.
On this night, St. Louis was the team with the speed and three of the Bluesâ€™ goals were scored by players who beat the Montreal defenders down the ice.
You expect rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi to be schooled on some nights â€” he won only three of 13 drawsÂ â€” but Phillip Danault was at 42 per cent (he won eight of 19) â€” Max Domi won three of 12 and Michael Chaput won three of nine.
Did weÂ mention Domi and Jonathan Drouin continue to struggle? After being called out by coach Claude Julien the previous day, they combined for four shots on goal, but none fell into the category of scoring chance.
Danault had a chance to pull the Canadiens back into the game when he came out of the penalty box and had a breakaway with the Blues leading 3-1 midway through the second period. Danault tried to find a hole between goaltender Jordan Binningtonâ€™s pads, but the rookie kept the puck out. He made 28 saves to run his NHL record to 2-0. Carey Price gave up four goals on 30 shots and has lost his last three starts.