Tired Habs fall to Panthers
MONTREAL—Head coach Michel Therrien believes it might be time for his club to have a break.
After a tough 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre yesterday, Therrien came to the defence of a Montreal team that couldn’t generate much offence during the game.
“This team is drained. They’re empty.”
The Canadiens have played 11 games in the last 19 days, including a 1-0 overtime victory against the Islanders in New York on Saturday night.
The team touched down at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal in the wee hours of Sunday—delayed by a snowstorm—and even scratched their morning practice.
Therrien didn’t blame the loss on a lack of effort or passion, but simply fatigue.
The Canadiens started slowly—recording their first shot on net seven minutes into the first period—and were sluggish for most of the game.
After two periods, the Panthers led 2-0 and were outshooting the home side 20-12.
Montreal came into the third with a burst of energy.
With the Habs pressing on the power play, its first of three in the final 20 minutes, Alex Galchenyuk reduced the deficit at 2:28 after banging home captain Brian Gionta’s rebound from inside the goalie’s crease.
But with Florida’s Mike Weaver and Scottie Upshall in the penalty box later in the period, the Canadiens couldn’t gain control of the game despite playing 35 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey.
Galchenyuk had a golden chance in front of the net to tie the game but fanned on the bouncing puck.
Elsewhere in the NHL, the N.Y. Rangers edged Calgary 4-3 (SO), Anaheim nipped Edmonton 3-2, Chicago beat L.A. 3-1, Washington topped Philadelphia 5-4 (SO), and Tampa Bay blanked Detroit 3-0.