Coach Michel Therrien is at a loss when attempting to explain
the recent struggles of the Montreal Canadiens, who are having
plenty of issues finding the back of the net.
They’ll look to get on track as they make the second stop on
their six-game road trip when the face the Nashville Predators on
Montreal (21-13-3) has dropped four of six, scoring one goal or
none in five of those contests. As an indication of how woeful the
Canadiens’ offense has been lately, P.K. Subban has recorded only
two assists over his last nine games but is one of two defensemen –
along with Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson – to lead his team in points.
“It’s hard to explain,” Therrien said after Thursday’s 5-1 loss
in St. Louis. “What concerns me was there weren’t a whole lot of
players who came ready to play. We talk and we talk and we talk.
Every player is responsible for preparing himself to play and
coming ready to come out with a lot more determination.”
Montreal has allowed the first goal five times during its slump.
Brendan Gallagher scored the team’s lone goal Thursday.
“We’ve had slow starts. I don’t know if it’s preparation for the
start of it or getting that desperation up right away,” captain
Brian Gionta said. “Once we’re in a hole we seem to make a push,
but by the way we’ve played the last five or six games, we need to
be desperate right off the bat.”
Though the Canadiens have killed off 37 of 38 penalties over
their last 13, they realize remaining at full strength is a must in
order to boost scoring. They’ve been in the penalty box 10 times
over the last two games.
“We can’t dig ourselves out of those holes if we keep doing
that,” center Tomas Plekanec said. “We killed them, but it’s not
enough. You’re not going to win games just killing off penalties.
We need to be much better overall. It’s just not enough right
The Canadiens have scored three times while dropping three of
the past four meetings with Nashville, including a 2-1 loss Oct. 19
as Gallagher again scored the lone goal.
Scoring has been a season-long issue for Nashville (16-16-3),
which ranks last in the Western Conference with 80 goals. It has
dropped two straight following a three-game winning streak, falling
3-1 to Chicago on Tuesday and 4-2 to Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Craig Smith scored twice in the second period, but the Lightning
answered less than two minutes after each goal.
“They took some momentum away by scoring just after we did,”
Smith said. “They are a good team, but so are we. They can do some
good things and so can we. They came out on top and converted their
Carter Hutton had won each game during the Predators’ winning
streak while posting a 1.33 goals-against average, but he struggled
Thursday before being pulled midway through the second period. It’s
unclear if he’ll be in net for this contest.
“I pulled Hutton because he gave up four goals on 14 shots,”
coach Barry Trotz said. “That’s just too much.”
Carey Price made 35 saves in the first meeting for Montreal, and
he could be in net for this contest. He’s lost each of his three
career starts against Nashville with a 2.35 GAA.