In the Habs Room: Lack of compete level cost Canadiens against Lightning
Other than Price, Therrien unhappy with team’s performance
MONTREAL — Someone has to give Carey Price some new material.
In the wake of the Canadiens’ 2-1 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday, Price talked about the way his teammates cleared rebounds and blocked shots.
“I don’t recall any big saves,” said Price, who salvaged a point for the Canadiens with a 44-save performance that included one big save after another.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien put the performance in perspective when he was asked about his team’s penalty-killing in the latter stages of the game when the Canadiens were short-handed for 5:46 over the final 8:33 of play.
“Carey Price was very good,” said Therrien.
As for the rest of his team’s performance, Therrien said: “I was not impressed.”
Therrien said the Canadiens didn’t compete for the first two periods and he said he was surprised that they didn’t come out strong against a team which was shut out Monday in Boston and was dealing with the loss of its top scorer, Steven Stamkos.
Daniel Brière, whose goal late in the third period sent the game into overtime, said Therrien’s message was loud and clear as he addressed the players between the second and third periods.
“The message was loud and clear that it was unacceptable,” said Brière. “Our big lines were getting outplayed and it was embarrassing. They had people at the net screening the goalie and getting rebounds and we didn’t. He told us we had to do a better job in the third period.”
The message got through to Brière, who was credited with the tying goal when he went hard to the net as Max Pacioretty shot from the side boards.
“I just went to the net and luckily the puck hit me,” said Brière.
The veteran was returning to the lineup after missing 10 games because of a concussion and he said he didn’t let the injury affect the way he plays.
“I didn’t even think about it and that’s the way I have to play,” said Brière.
Brière said he had a few shaky moments after the layoff.
“Early on in the game, especially the first couple of shifts, I was a little lost, out of sync,” he said. “As the game went on, I felt better. I was starting to feel more comfortable with the puck and without the puck, finding the areas to go to.”
Brière had words of praise for Price, saying: “We’re getting used to seeing him play that way. He’s the sole reason we were able to steal a point. We felt terrible we weren’t able to give him more support.”
Brière played a shade over 16 minutes, had a couple of shots on goal and won five of his nine faceoffs.
Captain Brian Gionta dismissed a suggestion that the Canadiens may have taken the visitors lightly after Stamkos suffered a broken leg in Boston.
“That wasn’t the case at all,” he said. “We weren’t winning the battles, we weren’t competing one-on-one.”
Defenceman Josh Gorges said the Canadiens didn’t counter the Lightning’s pressure.
“When you play a team that’s in your face, you don’t have time to make cute plays,” said Gorges. “When you play a team like that, it only works if you’re supporting each other.”
When asked what the final score might have been without Price’s heroics, Gorges said: “I don’t want to think about it.”
For those of you keeping score at home, defenceman P.K. Subban led all players with ice time of 28:22 and had a game-high eight shots on goal.
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