NEWARK, N.J. -- Canadiens rookie defenseman P.K. Subban is a healthy scratch Thursday at the Prudential Center not solely because of his errors late in Wednesday's loss to Edmonton, but because "of an accumulation of things," Montreal coach Jacques Martin told NHL.com.
"We've had several meetings about different things, and this is just part of the process of learning and getting better," Martin said roughly two hours prior to the game against New Jersey. "Overall he just needs to watch and understand that it's a team game and he needs to keep his game simple and play within the team system."
Subban came under fire Wednesday after he was directly involved in a pair of goals against that wound up costing the Canadiens in a 4-3 overtime home loss to the Oilers.
His ill-advised dive in an effort to keep the puck in the Oilers' zone during a Canadiens' power play in the third period led to a 2-on-1 going the other way. With Subban out of the picture and the puck free, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky broke out against Jaroslav Spacek. Gagner kept the puck and roofed a shot into the right side for the tying goal with 6:43 to play.
Dustin Penner scored the OT-winner after Subban's pass out of the Canadiens' zone was fumbled by Michael Cammalleri, leading to a breakaway for Penner. Subban's momentum did not allow him to retreat in time to get back to cut off Penner's route to the net.
"I know I can play better," Subban told reporters late Wednesday night. "I tried to do too much at times. I'm not going to shy away from it -- I was out there for two goals and they were big ones. We got away from the game plan. I know my head wasn't in it."
However, Martin hinted that Subban's head hasn't been in it for a while -- and that's why he won't be playing Thursday.
Subban has only 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) and an even rating in the last 15 games. He had 6 points (all assists) and a plus-5 rating through the first 10 games of the season.
"I think he needs to understand that he's more effective when he plays the team game," Martin said. "It's not an individual game. He has some good skill and we want him to use his skill and talent, but at the same time we want him to play within the structure."
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