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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens’ resilience to be tested by first slump of season

Dawn, Fla.— We have realized that the Montreal Canadiens are a fast, feisty, competitive team that has much more talent than anyone assumed right before the period acquired underway, but we’re about to find out just how resilient they are.

The Canadiens have hit a bump in the highway. A 6-3 loss to a Florida Panthers team that came into Sunday’s match 13 details back of them in the standings built it a third straight loss experienced in regulation for the to start with time all period. If they don’t transform matters all over speedily, they could locate themselves out of a playoff spot in a hurry.

It is an unthinkable transform of functions thinking of they had absent 9-2-1 and cemented themselves in the write-up-period picture prior to dropping a match in overtime from the Toronto Maple Leafs and getting rid of to the Nashville Predators, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Panthers in succession, but that is how matters stand.

“It’s crazy what’s going on in our convention,” stated Canadiens defenceman Jordie Benn.

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He’s not incorrect. A 6-5 win for the Pittsburgh Penguins more than the New York Rangers on Sunday bumped Montreal to the 2nd wild-card placement in the East, and they now hold a measly just one-point direct more than the Carolina Hurricanes. And it was only eight times in the past that Montreal had a opportunity to overtake Toronto for 2nd area in the Atlantic Division.

Now they are six details back of the Leafs and 7 away from the Boston Bruins, who were being tied with them in details prior to this mini skid.

“I simply call it a slump,” stated Canadiens coach Claude Julien.

It did not glimpse like just one was developing when the Canadiens performed the 2nd-area Predators tough and speedy on Thursday—notching 35 shots in a match that could’ve absent either way. Their loss to the Lightning on Saturday came down to a sloppy third period of time and Tampa’s stifling speed and brief-strike offence, which has decimated the rest of the league this period. But what occurred from the Panthers built it an undeniable actuality.

“For what ever motive we just kind of acquired guiding the eight ball early,” stated Canadiens captain Shea Weber.

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Contemplate that an understatement. Max Domi took a substantial-sticking penalty 3:52 into the to start with period of time and Florida’s Aleksander Barkov capitalized on the power perform 7 seconds later on. Canadiens defenceman Victor Mete lost his gap on Denis Malgin in the 12th minute of the frame and the Panthers’ centre took a shot off Mete’s stick and past Canadiens backup Antti Niemi for goal No. 2.

And right after Domi decreased the deficit to a goal with his 18th of the period, the Panthers acquired a goal from Frank Vatrano that squeaked by means of Niemi’s legs and chased him from the match.

Remarkably, the Canadiens acquired a goal from Brendan Gallagher right before the to start with period of time finished and Domi tied the match at 3-3 5:18 into the 2nd.

But much less than 12 minutes later on, Canadiens defenceman Brett Kulak turned the puck more than in the neutral zone, Barkov stole it and raced down the ice right before chopping back as he arrived at Montreal’s crease and locating the back of Carey Price’s net with a spectacular, by means of-the-legs end.

Weber gave him whole marks for the transfer, but pointed out that it came on a breakaway that never should really have occurred.

Barkov’s third of the match, at 9:13 of the third period of time, should not have been a factor, either. He was gifted a two-on-just one break from his have blue line right after one more careless turnover by the Canadiens.

Those unforced faults have been limited by this Montreal side for most of this period, but they’ve begun to develop into a lot much more recurrent of late.

“Our players—you can see they are combating the puck,” stated Julien. “Nothing looks to be quick right now, and that is what slumps are all about. Just about every team goes by means of it. Just about every team’s absent by means of it so considerably this calendar year, I’m sure. We’re likely by means of it now, and I think the most important factor is how do we quit it? Which is what we have acquired to concentration on. Practically nothing we can do about tonight. We weren’t good, we had a terrible get started, we acquired ourselves back into it, a couple of terrible penalties we took in the 2nd period of time took that momentum we had gotten back, and all over again [in the] third period—like final evening [in Tampa]—we just weren’t there.”

No, they weren’t even close to there. The Canadiens were being out-shot 17-4 in a 3-goal period of time for the Lightning on Saturday, and they were being out-shot 12-3 in a two-goal period of time for the Panthers on Sunday.

It was Riley Sheahan who iced it with an empty-netter with 2:25 remaining.

“That’s the conclude of the match,” stated Julien. “We’ve gotta concentration on our household match on Tuesday and see if we just cannot bounce back and get ourselves back on keep track of. That to start with win’s likely to be a tough just one, but when we get it, ideally, we’ll be back on keep track of and ideally that transpires on Tuesday evening.”

We wouldn’t put it past this team, but they’ll be in tough from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Bell Centre.

However, they sense self-assured.

“We’ve reacted pretty effectively right after losses up to this point,” stated Weber.

Benn extra that the team’s angle has been exemplary and that it should really perform a job in their ability to rebound speedily.

“The spirit in the space is so powerful,” he stated. “We know we have a opportunity to win each and every evening, so we just gotta maintain her likely.”

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