KANATA – There are some nights over the course of any regular season that you’d like to forget. That’s just the way things go.
On Saturday night, the Canadiens surrendered three short-handed goals en route to dropping a 5-0 decision to the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. It marked the first time the Canadiens had been blanked on road ice all season long, and just the second time they failed to find the back of the net in a contest all year.
That wasn’t any consolation to Michel Therrien’s troops in the aftermath of their third loss in their last four games, though, and with good reason.
“It’s unacceptable. Everyone offered up a bad effort. We weren’t playing together. We weren’t following the system. We weren’t winning our battles. It was an unacceptable loss tonight,” said Phillip Danault, who watched as the Senators scored one short-handed tally in each of the three periods on Saturday night. “It’s unacceptable to let down the way we did in the third period. That’s the biggest thing. You have to find a way to stay in the game. [Mike] Brown stepped up for us and fought with [Chris] Neil. It was a big team move. After that, you have to find a way to move forward. We didn’t do that tonight.”
Dave Cameron’s squad outshot the Canadiens by a 44-30 margin, capitalizing on a few bad bounces while down a man to beat their Atlantic Division rivals in their own barn. Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Curtis Lazar and Alex Chiasson accounted for the short-handed markers on Ben Scrivens, while Marc Methot and Mika Zibanejad chipped in with goals of their own.
“It was a tough night. It’s the NHL. You’ve got to show up and play hard and it didn’t happen,” said captain Max Pacioretty. “Just watch the goals. We just gave them three goals. I think we had some chances and some good zone time during the game, but with three errors like that –two breakaways and a 2-on-1 [while short-handed] – that obviously can’t happen. They made us pay for it.”
Scrivens, meanwhile, shared in his teammates’ frustration and disappointment.
“I can’t comment on how everyone else feels or anything. I thought I was playing well. Through two periods, it’s a close game. I thought I made some good saves. I was trying to give the team a chance. Obviously, in the third period I’ve got to try to do a better job at that. But, I’ll go over the video here with Stephane [Waite] and see what we can correct,” said Scrivens, who, despite making 39 saves, suffered his seventh loss of the season after winning his two previous starts. “I thought I battled hard the whole night. My goal is to just give the team a chance. It kind of got away at the end.”
The Canadiens’ bench boss is in full agreement there.
“I’ve never seen that, three goals scored against a team while they’re on the power play,” said Therrien, whose contingent will be back in action on Sunday night against the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre. “It’s a lack of execution and concentration.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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