at the hands of the Ottawa Senators was a testament to the fact that shot output means nothing. The quality of them matters more.
The "quality" came in Game 2, when the Habs peppered Senators' goaltender Craig Anderson, going to high percentage scoring areas, providing screens and driving the net.
Last night, the Canadiens were outclassed on every part of the ice, oftentimes looking like a team already defeated after the first period. After the initial ten minute barrage of truculence on the part of the Senators, the Habs played scared. That part troubles me more than anything else I've seen so far this playoff season.
And it all begins with the team's veterans. Injured or not, they are the ones that should be providing the example to the Canadiens' youngsters, and not vise-versa. Other than Rene Bourque and P.K. Subban, not one else has stepped up to the plate.
David Desharnais: The Habs Equivalent to "Chinese Water Torture"
I think everyone can agree that Desharnais has been the biggest disappointment this season for the Montreal Canadiens. While his rise to the NHL earned him much respect in the hockey community, his standards of play have all but disappeared since he signed a four-year extension with the Canadiens on March 15th, 2013.
His greatest strengths were his ability to fend off bigger players along the boards, get possession of the puck and distribute it to his wingers for quality scoring chances. Needless to say, DD has done nothing of the sort, not having registered a single shot in three playoff games and constantly being pushed off the puck like a rag doll.
And can someone please explain why he keeps getting chances on the Canadiens' power play when he has been so ineffective for such a longer period of time? Unless we have a two-man advantage, it's still four-on-four to me when Desharnais take the ice for special teams' duty.
Pacioretty: "Wolverine" needs to sharpen his claws.
And with that though in mind, where did Patches' game go? Last season, he was being praised for his net drive and his fearless positioning in front of opposing goaltenders. Now, he's resorted to playing like Scott Gomez, refusing to engage the mid-ice lane, and taking useless shots from low percentage areas along the perimeter.
Granted, the quick healing winger has been dealing with different injuries for the better part of the season, but this is playoff hockey!! If you know you can't be beneficial to your team's fortunes, take a breather, and let someone else carry the load. Patches took the game off in Game 2, and it didn't go so badly for Michel Therrien's team.
Ryder: Lost In Space
Skating like he's stuck in quicksand, and defensive liability, Ryder provides nothing of substance to the Canadiens' playoff roster. While he played well in the Boston Bruins' Stanley Cup run of a few years ago, his career playoff stats are a joke.
Plekanec: Girl's NOT Wild
With a minus-13 rating in 50 career playoff games, Plekanec's defensive play seems to dwindle when the chips are on the table. Other than his 2005-2006 rookie campaign, where Plek was plus-2 in 6 games, he has not had ANY success in the playoffs.
Granted, Tomas does do the "little things" right more often than not, but those same things will not help lead the Canadiens to playoff success.
Markov: Gimpiddy Doo-Da
Markov has a distinct inability to pivot to his right to defend the mid-ice lane. That much was clear evidence last night, when Markov decided it was easier to follow Chris Neal than keep Jean-Gabriel Pageau from streaking up the middle. On that play alone, he left both P.K. Subban and Carey Price out to dry.
The Russian-born defenseman still has the brains to play at this level, but his legs just aren't there. He skates up the ice without the vivacity we have growing accustomed to in previous season, and has become a defensive liability on the left side.
If Markov's season has any hope of being salvaged, perhaps taking him away from P.K. Subban as a partner (who himself showed obvious frustration last night), and pairing him up on the right of Josh Gorges or Francis Bouillon.
Veterans need to lead by example, and if this is the example these players will continue to afford their teammates....FORE!!!