The bleeding continues for the Montreal Canadiens as a brutal third grants them their sixth loss falling 5-1 to the Los Angeles Kings.
When it rains, boy does it pour. The Montreal Canadiens are 0-2 in this California swing after losing 5-1 to the Los Angeles Kings. The losing streak is now at six games.
It’s hard to judge this game objectively. Claude Julien made a few changes in the lineup that hopefully would’ve turned this around in the Habs’ favour. Alex Galchenyuk replaced Artturi Lehkonen on the team’s top line which was great to see. It’s nothing against Lehkonen though. The team is in desperate need of converting on their scoring chances and having Galchenyuk in the top six gives them a better chance.
Lehkonen was on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Ales Hemsky, Paul Byron with Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw. Finally, in terms of the forward group, Jacob de La Rose replaced Torrey Mitchell on the fourth line in between Charles Hudon and Brendan Gallagher.
The blueline remained the same except on the bottom pair. Brandon Davidson was given the night off in relief for Jordie Benn. Honest question here, did that worry you a bit?
Al Montoya was tasked with getting the start. We all knew going into this game that it would be a challenge for him. Not because he’s a bad goaltender by any means. The team is at a very low point right now and coming into the Staples Center on the second half of a back-to-back will require a strong performance from Montoya.
The Montreal Canadiens will finish this road trip Friday against the Anaheim Ducks. We’ll have to see if they can show up for that one.
Thoughts and Observations
Fingers can be pointed everywhere. The only person on the team who deserves nothing but praise is Montoya. He gave the team a chance to win.
The 32-year-old allowed a goal in the first period after Mike Cammalleri swatted a puck midair into the back of the net. If this was in 2010 then Habs fans would’ve been happy that Cammalleri scored.
That goal came about seven minutes after Paul Byron had the first goal of the game. His entire line picked up from where they left off when they were initially brought together in the preseason. A strong forecheck was their MO for the majority of the game. This led to Byron scoring a Bobby Orr type goal after the line capitalized from a Kings turnover in their own zone.
Galchenyuk looked rejuvenated from the lineup changes as well. There wasn’t any offence generated from them, but the 23-year-old looked more confident. Playing him on the right side was a good move by Julien, but they need results from him.
Montoya made save after save for the remainder of the first and the entirety of the second. Sometimes people talk about teams losing games in a single period. That’s what happened to the Habs, and unfortunately it was in the third period.
Turnovers and missed assignments (again) gave the Kings a handful of odd man rushes against. In particular on Cammalleri and Adrian Kempe‘s second goals of the net.
The Habs turn the puck over in the neutral zone leading to a shot being taken by Kempe. Montoya made the initial stop and another off Cammalleri’s rebound attempt before the puck going in. Jeff Petry could’ve done more from allowing him to get those chances.
Joe Morrow, who was given another chance after an okay performance in San Jose, made a horrible pinch in the neutral zone that gave Kempe a breakaway which he scored on.
Yes you need to be a pro in situations like this, but it has to be frustrating for Montoya who played well. He made 37 saves for the Montreal Canadiens who in turn wasn’t able to give him any goal support.