When you cover the Stanley Cup for a few decades there are lessons learned. One of them is, the foolishness that occurred Sunday night in Ottawa tends not to be repeated no matter how harsh the post game language.
Hockey is a game dominated by emotion and Sunday night it boiled into a goon show. Despite all of the talk and finger pointing, both teams, but especially the Canadiens, know just who silly they looked.
Another lesson learned: A 2-1 lead series lead does not qualify for automatic advancement to the next playoff round.
Not even close.
Teams make adjustments from game-to-game. Paul MacLean and his coaches made adjustments after game two and came up with a plan that frustrated the Canadiens into irrationality. That’s good coaching. Now it’s up to Michel Therrien to counter.
Much has been made of the Canadiens lack of success on the power play in this series, but it should be noted that they are up against the number one penalty killing team in the entire league. If the Canadiens are to have success they are going to rely more on their fifth ranked five-on-five scoring.
There’s another time-honoured adage: In order to win you need your best players being your best players.
Right now Michel Therrien has David Desharnais and Michael Ryder on his mind. Three games, no shots on goal for Desharnais, which is just a continuation of a season ending slump that saw him score 2 goals his last 22 games. Ryder finished the season in an eight game scoring slump and has just that “gimme” in game two. Therrien has to decide whether to move Desharnais and Ryder around in the lineup heading into a must win road game Tuesday or rid out the slump The Canadiens will .
Much of the frustration the Canadiens endured Sunday was of their own making. They had no forechecking game. Their play in the neutral zone was atrocious, they had no answer for the Senators forechecking and their goaltending was only so-so. The Canadiens have shown themselves to be consistently better in all of those areas during the season. The time is now for a return to form.