Canadian — 1 Penguins 4 | The bad seconds

(Pittsburgh) What happens in the Canadiens locker room during the first intermission? Do we listen to sleepy music? Do we drink a particular Gatorade? Are snacks being served that are too heavy?

We’re having fun, but it’s not fun. Yet another collapse in the second period cost the Habs the game on Thursday, en route to a 4-1 defeat against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Another defeat, rather – a sixth in seven games and a fourth in a row, the longest such streak this season.

Read our live coverage

View the meeting summary

After the game, head coach Martin St-Louis himself indicated that the refrain was becoming repetitive: a good first period, a bad second and a third spent, in vain, repairing the broken problems. “The last matches are quite similar,” he noted.

The circumstances, however, differ. This time, a stupid penalty from Brendan Gallagher allowed the Penguins, incidentally a lousy club on the power play, to take a 2-1 lead. As soon as play resumed, the locals took advantage of a surplus after Cole Caufield lost a skate blade at the opposing blue line: 3-1. It all happened there.

“I don’t think one goal had an effect on the other,” said Mike Matheson. If it had happened 10 minutes later, we wouldn’t have made the connection. Except that there, it was about the following presence. »

Caufield’s bad luck was in fact impossible to prevent, even to repair. We know that a player without a blade looks like Bambi on the ice. So we won’t blame number 22.


Nick Suzuki

However, the four-on-three that followed the incident, “we are not managing it as we are capable of it,” analyzed Martin St-Louis. In the dock: Nick Suzuki, who skates slowly in retreat before accelerating when the Penguins move into Montreal territory. So too late.

“We did a lot of good things,” recalled St-Louis, rightly so. But they took advantage of their chances when we made small mistakes, and we didn’t take advantage of our chances when they made small mistakes. »

Recurring problem

The second period, we said, was not problematic until Thursday. She has been since the start of the season.

The Canadian in fact allowed 72 goals in the second engagement, which places him 30e rank of the circuit. In the last seven games, he has given up 13 times in the second period, which represents almost half of the total goals allowed in the interval (28).


Cayden Primeau

That includes hemorrhaging three goals, twice, and even four goals against the New York Rangers. After this match, our colleague Richard Labbé gave his analysis the title “Suddenly, the channel has arrived”. If journalistic standards and practices permitted, we would have simply copied and pasted it above this text.

But why does the chain break so systematically in the second period? “Change is really far away, and we’re still learning how to deal with it,” suggested Mike Matheson. When our defenders have been on the ice for more than a minute, maybe it’s time to just send the puck to the back of the zone and play a little flatter for a few shifts, while regenerate momentum. »

Martin St-Louis agreed. “It happens more often that guys are tired in the second. As a young team, you have to understand these moments, simplify things. It’s a learning process. »

No more lifts

If bad second periods are not a new phenomenon, a trend has nevertheless changed.

At the start of the campaign, we couldn’t stop being moved by this resilient, persevering, relentless team, which erased deficits and stole points from its opponents. It doesn’t happen anymore.

During the first 32 games, until December 21, the Habs trailed 20 times after two periods. However, he managed to snatch four victories and as many defeats in overtime from these unfortunate situations.

In the last 25 games, he found himself behind after 40 minutes 11 times. The result: 11 defeats in regulation time.

“It’s very difficult to do, so you can’t think you’re going to win every time,” noted Mike Matheson. Just because we do something wrong doesn’t mean we can’t do it. » In other words, he does not blame his team for no longer succeeding in their comebacks; he would rather like to see her lag behind less often.

After a question on the same theme, Martin St-Louis let a silence pass before suggesting that the situation was perhaps attributable to “a lack of finishing”.

“Our commitment is there,” he insisted. It’s not like we don’t have chances. If we lost and got eaten, I’d say something changed. But this is not the case. We lack finishing, but the intentions are there. »

Maybe, ultimately, the intentions are just better than the team that embodies them…

On the rise: Joshua Roy


Joshua Roy

The one who seems to gain confidence with each match has been the best striker on his team. He had 11 shot attempts, five on target, and had it not been for the brilliance of goalkeeper Tristan Jarry, he could have scored two or three goals.

Down: Brendan Gallagher


Brendan Gallagher

His unnecessary punishment, midway through the second period, woke up the Penguins. We know the rest. At five against five, only Jesse Ylönen played less than him.

Match score: 64


Sidney Crosby

With an assist on the winning goal, Sidney Crosby got his 64e career point against the Canadian. Among active players, only Alex Ovechkin, with 67 points, is ahead of him in this regard.

In details

Jayden Struble is in pain


Jayden Struble

It’s hard to know what happened to him, but something was clearly wrong. Midway through the third period, Jayden Struble collapsed on the ice following a routine play. After getting rid of the puck in the opponent’s zone, he seemed inconvenienced and retreated towards his territory, before falling as if he had been struck by lightning. Watching him crawl towards the bench, you would have thought he had lost a skate blade, but when he arrived, he needed help to get to the locker room, clearly unable to put any weight on one. of his legs. The team did not provide any updates after the meeting. Since the CH is off this Friday, we should only know more on this subject on Saturday. If Struble were to miss out, Johnathan Kovacevic could replace him in defense, having been left out in the last two games.

The Colin White era begins


Colin White (36)

A new center player has appeared in the tricolor jersey, while the organization claimed Colin White earlier in the day. The latter didn’t have too much difficulty joining his new team, since he had been playing with the Penguins until then — he had even trained with them in the morning! White, 27, had only played 11 games in the NHL this season, recording no points. Instead, he spent the majority of the campaign in the American League. A former first-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, he had a promising start in the NHL, but had lost his bearings in recent years, to the point of being forced to sign a two-way contract at the very end from training camp in October. The right-hander looked pretty good in his debut with his new team, displaying a surprising bond with Tanner Pearson on the fourth line. “I don’t know him much as a player, but I liked his performance on the ice,” Martin St-Louis said at the end of the evening. This line gave us good minutes. »

Brandon Gignac on waivers


Brandon Gignac

To make room for White in the lineup, the CH submitted the name of Brandon Gignac to waivers. The Quebecer signed his first contract with the CH a few weeks ago, he who was previously only linked to the Laval Rocket. A lightning-quick forward, he showed some nice flashes, but didn’t seem completely comfortable with the level of NHL opposition. In his last three games, he found himself on the ice for three opponent goals at five-on-five. His last meeting, against the Buffalo Sabres, Wednesday night, was particularly difficult. If he is not claimed on waivers, he will join the Rocket, who are in the heart of a fight to reach the American League playoffs. Before getting his chance in Montreal, the native of Repentigny had collected 42 points in 43 games in Laval.

source site-60