SAN JOSE – Coming off Wednesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Ducks, the Canadiens knew they needed a bounce back effort in San Jose. The players responded with exactly that, but it wasn’t quite enough to earn them a crucial two points.
Michael Cammalleri used every trick up his sleeve to help the cause, tipping home the game’s opening goal before assisting on Erik Cole’s third period marker. But it was the shifty winger’s willingness to throw himself in front of a Dan Boyle point shot late in the first that highlighted what he and his teammates were prepared to do for the win.
“We’re starting to feel a little bit desperate here,” admitted Cammalleri, who finished with a plus-2 differential on the night. “It’s important to collect points and you don’t want to get into too big of a hole. We’re a team that wants to be there at the end so, yeah, there’s a little sense of desperation there.
While coaches tend to stress the importance of the process, the players couldn’t help but focus on the result after Thursday’s 4-3 shootout loss.
“I thought there was a pretty good commitment for the most part and we were sticking to it pretty well, but we put ourselves in a situation to win the game so it feels pretty disappointing right now to not come up with the extra point,” described Cammalleri. “We give up one at the end, we were unable to get the win in overtime and then we had another chance to win it in the shootout. It’s tough right now. It feels like we’re in a little bit of a hole and two points would have been nice especially since we put ourselves in a situation to get them.”
Despite doing many of the little things right in the game – throwing 32 shots on goal, blocking 23 shots and dishing out 18 hits – the Habs let a 3-2 lead slip away at the Shark Tank. They may have played a textbook road game for 58 minutes and 34 seconds, but it was the other minute and a half that cost them a big point.
“Close is not enough right now. We have to find a way to win hockey games and win them consistently,” stressed P.K. Subban, who was a plus-2 in 25:43 on the ice. “[Carey] is standing on his head every night and we have to help him out.
“It shouldn’t have come down to a shootout. We can’t put ourselves in that position,” he concluded. “It’s happened too many times this year where we have the game and we cough it up with a minute left in the game. We’re at Game 26 now; we have to figure it out.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
The Numbers Game - Dec. 1, 2011
CAREY PRICE EARNS MOLSON CUP HONOR FOR NOVEMBER