SAN JOSE – Negative energy doesn’t win hockey games.
The Canadiens got back to work on Friday morning after a disappointing 4-3 shootout loss to the Sharks. Despite sitting just one point out of eighth in the conference, the Habs were practicing with the intensity of a team in 11th place looking to move up.
“Losing teams always have a really negative attitude. When you have a negative attitude it makes it even harder to climb out of the hole,” explained Carey Price, who kicked aside 38 of the 41 shots he faced on Thursday night. “You can be frustrated and disappointed but you can’t make it look worse than it is.
“This is the time we need to start making up lost ground,” he added. “We can’t keep picking up one point. That won’t get us to our goal. We need to start stringing together wins. Every time we get to the rink we need to put on our work boots. It’s a cliché, but it’s true.”
In just his second full NHL season, Lars Eller has already had his share of teaching moments. His team’s current performance is just another lesson he and his teammates can learn from.
“We realize the situation we’re in and we can’t afford to lose these points, even though it’s still only December. We need to play with a little more urgency in our game,” admitted Eller, who has seven points so far this season. “Every game is almost like a playoff game right now because of the situation we put ourselves in. We have to step it up and everybody has to look themselves in the mirror and do a little bit more. You have to look to yourself and trust the guy next to you.”
Not one to dwell on the negatives, Jacques Martin was encouraged by his players’ performance against the Sharks despite the result. Having fielded questions about his team’s struggling power play for the past few weeks, the Habs bench boss was particularly pleased with what he saw on his club’s sole power play of the night.
“There were a lot of positives in yesterday’s game. First of all, our special teams were really good, although each team only got one power play opportunity,” described Martin, whose team has gone 0-for-25 with the man advantage in the past seven games. “We worked hard and even if we didn’t score on the power play, we created some quality scoring chances.
“What I really liked was the way we moved the puck on the power play yesterday,” he explained. “We moved it from low to high, we made some good decisions with the puck and we were working really hard on both our special teams and at 5-on-5. It was unfortunate we lost the game, but we fought hard and we got a point out of it so we have some things to build from.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.VOIR AUSSI
Gone in 86 seconds
Molson Cup for Carey Price in November