COLUMBUS - Here are a few key storylines from Tuesday night's 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
A failure to capitalize proves costly
The Canadiens were even with the Blue Jackets for a good part of the game in Ohio.
In fact, the scoreline was 2-2 through 40 minutes of play. Artturi Lehkonen and Joel Armia scored for Montreal.
Claude Julien's troops had their fair share of chances to take the lead, but couldn't solve goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.
In short, the Blue Jackets were far more opportunistic than the visitors.
"I think the different tonight was that they capitalized on their scoring chances," explained Phillip Danault, who picked up an assist on Lehkonen's goal in the first period. "I think we deserved a better fate. We worked hard, but we didn't manage to capitalize on our chances."
The Canadiens had some quality scoring opportunities during both the opening and middle frames, but they lacked finish.
That was the case for Nick Suzuki and Armia alike, who couldn't light the lamp on breakaways.
"We had a lot of scoring chances when the game was tied. We weren't able to take the lead. We didn't do good enough work. Their goaltender made good saves, but we have to bury our chances," mentioned assistant captain, Brendan Gallagher. "They eventually went in front and maintained the lead."
Julien's squad was very much in the contest until the third period when Columbus scored three unanswered goals courtesy of Emil Bemstrom, Boone Jenner and Pierre-Luc Dubois.
The Habs' captain shared similar thoughts as Danault and Gallagher alike.
"I thought we played a good 40 minutes. We didn't manage to take the lead, but we were still in good position when it was 2-2," stressed Shea Weber. "The last 20 minutes weren't up to par."
A good game for the Suzuki line
The line centered by Suzuki delivered a good effort versus Columbus.
Joined together for a second consecutive game, Suzuki, Armia and Max Domi amassed eight shots on goal.
Armia scored his seventh goal of the season in the second period by tipping a Ben Chiarot shot past Korpisalo.
Julien appreciated the trio's work on Tuesday night.
"We have to give them time to create some chemistry. It's only been two games. I'm not disappointed in that line," said Julien, during his postgame press conference. "I think we have to be patient in order to let the chemistry form."
Back in action on Wednesday
The Canadiens won't have any time to dwell on the defeat since they'll battle the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.
Ottawa was also in action on Tuesday night, posting a 4-3 win over the Red Wings in Detroit.
A pregame ceremony will be held in Montreal in honor of Guy Carbonneau's induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.