PHILADELPHIA -- A great start isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
Judging from the Canadiens utter domination of the opening period in Philadelphia on Monday night, it was shaping up to be a far easier outing for the Habs than expected. A lopsided shot advantage and a 2-0 lead later, everything changed.
“It almost felt like two games in one,” admitted head coach Jacques Martin. “We completely dominated in the first period and then it was just the opposite in the second and third. They took advantage of that, kept working and won the battles. They deserved this one tonight.”
Someone who didn’t deserve the outcome was Carey Price
. The Habs netminder continued his solid play, kicking aside 42 of the 45 shots he faced.
“We tried to use the rope-a-dope but it didn’t work,” explained Price. “I’m not frustrated I’m just disappointed we lost. This was a very winnable game tonight. They did a great job of rallying, they played a good hockey game and did all they needed to do.”
Speaking of doing all they needed to, Maxim Lapierre appeared headed for a dream night with a pair of goals in the first period. Instead the rugged winger was left wondering what could have been.
“This is especially disappointing because Carey really kept us in the game tonight,” said Lapierre, looking nothing like a guy who supplied all of his team’s offense. “We didn’t deliver our best performance. We need to think about that and erase this game from our minds as soon possible.”
Equally unimpressed by how a 2-0 cushion became a 3-2 loss, Michael Cammalleri was humming a similar tune.
“The game went from a dance song to a slow melody and that’s never good. We had that beat to our game that makes us successful but we just couldn’t keep it going,” assessed Cammalleri. “We had a good start and then once we got that lead, things changed.”
It may seem odd to regret grabbing an early two-goal lead on the road, but that breathing room is what triggered a reversal of fortunes for the Canadiens.
“We got that lead and maybe it gave us a little false confidence there,” offered Hal Gill. “We just seemed to stop attacking. We played well there for a while and did some good things. We weren’t outplaying them that much, but we got those two goals and then we backed off in the second period and it was too late to turn it back around.”Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSO:Numbers Game - Nov. 22, 2010 BoxscoreHighlights