Adjusting on the fly
Following a 5-1 loss in Pittsburgh and a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Red Wings, the Habs are ready to put their latest road trip behind them. With the puck set to drop against the Capitals at the Bell Centre less than 24 hours after the final buzzer in Detroit, they won’t have to wait long to get back to work piling up wins.
“The good thing is we’re right back at it tomorrow,” stressed Brian Gionta, who fired a team-high six shots on Friday night. “We had some sustained pressure, some good cycles and good opportunities but we have to do a better job getting those second and third chances later on in the crease area. We didn’t challenge [Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson] with enough traffic in front of him tonight. But I thought we did some positive things and we have to build on those tomorrow.”
Racking up seven penalties – including a 5-on-3 that led to Henrik Zetterberg’s opening marker – also didn’t help the Canadiens’ cause in the Motor City. While the team’s penalty killers managed to snuff out the next six Red Wings power plays, the Habs weren’t able to rally back during their first visit to Joe Louis Arena since December 2010.
“We played a great first period. We competed hard and we were first on the puck. All a coach can ask of his players is that they compete and that’s what we did tonight,” shared Habs head coach Michel Therrien. “The result wasn’t there. We need to start finding ways to come out with a lead and we weren’t able to capitalize on our chances when we got them. But i we keep working the way we did tonight, things will turn around quickly for us.”
Having dropped three-straight games and been outscored by a 22-11 margin in the last five, it’s no secret the Canadiens need to find the back of the net a little more frequently to snap their current skid. Offense may be harder to come by in the second half so far, but the Habs never assumed the road to the postseason would be easy.
“It’s adversity. Every team I’ve been on, regardless of what level you’re playing, there’s going to be adversity,” confirmed Brendan Gallagher, who potted the Canadiens’ lone goal of the game on a power play in the second period. “That’s what makes a good team: what you do to get out of it and how you work through it. For us right now, we’re focusing and talking about the little details. Everyone believes in this room and everyone has confidence in each other. We just need to get back to playing the way we did at the beginning and the wins will come.”
Looking to come out with a little more firepower and come away with two important points on Saturday, the Habs will head to the rink in the morning for a team meeting to go over the finer points of Friday’s loss.
“We’re going to review this game like we always do and we’re going to look at the mistakes we made, learn from them and get better,” described Gallagher. “It’s a long season and we need to get better from every loss and learn and improve. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.