The Montreal Canadiens blew another lead and lost their eighth straight game. This is not the first time they have lost eight consecutive games this season.
The Montreal Canadiens started the year as a great third period team. They have several comebacks early in the year and served notice that games against the Habs are not over until the final buzzer rings.
That was October. Habs games are over before they start now. At least the past eight games have been. This isn’t even the first time they have lost this many games in a row.
Back on November 15th, everything was going just fine for the Habs. They had just defeated the Washington Capitals, had a great record of 11-5-3 and looked like not just playoff contenders but legitimate Stanley Cup contenders at the time.
Then they lost eight times in a row. They finally snapped that skid with a win over the New York Islanders and then went on to win five out of six games. It was just enough of a run to have us Habs fans head into our Christmas break thinking the Canadiens could have an outside shot at the playoffs.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning were starting to come around, but that wild card spot wasn’t locked in stone just yet. The Canadiens were battling through some tough injuries, won three of four games out west and shook off that eight game losing streak that just seemed like a bad dream.
Then, they did it again. For the second time in their last 26 games, the Canadiens have lost eight times in a row. Not often do teams go on eight game losing streaks in the parity era of the National Hockey League. That is ten percent of your season flushed down the toilet. The Habs have managed to pull off that feat twice in less than two months.
Last night, they took on the Edmonton Oilers at the Bell Centre. The Habs looked great in the first period, outshooting the Oilers 14-5 and forcing all kinds of pressure towards Mike Smith in the Edmonton goal. Phillip Danault scored a beauty goal on his own rebound to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead.
Montreal continued to pour on the pressure early in the second period. Artturi Lehkonen fed Jesperi Kotkaniemi in the slot off the rush and the Finnish centre scored his sixth of the season to give the Habs a 2-0 advantage.
Riley Sheahan and Joakim Nygard must have liked what they saw on the Kotkaniemi goal because they did their best to recreate it just five minutes later. Nygard fed Sheahan in the slot and he wired a wrist shot into the top corner over Carey Price to make it 2-1 heading into the third period.
After losing seven games in a row, you would think the Canadiens would lock things down in an attempt to finally snap their awful skid. You would expect to see some desperation, some nastiness, some engagement.
We saw them allow three unanswered goals and fall flat. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied the game with assists from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. I mean, who can stop those three when they are on the ice together?
Midway through the third period, Alex Chiasson gave the Oilers their first lead as he neatly redirected an Oscar Klefbom shot into the top shelf. It was Edmonton’s first lead, but they would not relinquish it like the Habs did.
Josh Archibald ended any hopes of a comeback when he scored into an empty net with 35 seconds remaining. That sealed the deal and now the Canadiens have to be specific when talking about their eight game losing streaks because they had one in November and another one right after Christmas.
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Stick a fork in em. Fail for Drysdale. Finish derniere for Lafreniere. For the third straight season, the Montreal Canadiens will not be participating in the postseason. This time, they are going to be a lot further from them than they were a year ago.