MTL@FLA: About Saturday night...
Goals were hard to come by again, and the Canadiens paid the priceby Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com
SUNRISE - Here are a fey key storylines from Saturday night's 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center.
"We have to find ways to score"
The Sunshine State certainly wasn't kind to the Canadiens in the scoring department this week.
After being blanked by the Lightning in Tampa on Thursday night, Claude Julien's squad managed to score just one goal against the Panthers.
Jake Evans was the lone Hab who solved Florida goaltender Chris Driedger at the BB&T Center.
Driedger made 33 saves to help the home side snap a four-game winless streak overall - and an eight-game winless streak in their own barn as well.
"We have to find ways to score. We had a breakaway tonight. You have to be able to bury those chances if you want to win games. We aren't scoring enough to win, even if we're creating chances," said Julien, during his postgame press conference. "I would've liked to see our team be a little bit harder tonight. It would've helped us, too. It's a part of our game that wasn't up to the level we would've wanted."
Video: Claude Julien's postgame press conference @ FLA
Failing to capitalize on some big power play time during the second period didn't help the Canadiens' cause, either.
Down by a goal, they had a two-man advantage for 70 seconds late in the frame but couldn't generate much of anything.
"I don't think it was a turning point, but I think we could've done a much better job. Five-on-three, for some reason, we were shooting from far out and we weren't taking the time to bring the puck closer to the net and create some better chances," explained Julien. "It would've been good to score on that. It would've made probably a difference in the game."
After killing off the penalty, the Panthers responded in the best way possible - with goals of their own to put the contest out of reach.
MacKenzie Weegar scored 41 seconds into the third period, before Jonathan Huberdeau added another goal at the 4:13 mark to give the Panthers a commanding 3-0 lead.
Evans responded for Montreal at 8:04, but the rally stopped there.
"You get some good chances, you need to bear down. That's what they did tonight," said Evans. "I feel like the game was even for the most part. I just think when they had their good chances, they were putting them in."
Video: Jake Evans on staying motivated right now
Top marks for Charlie
Even though Charlie Lindgren didn't pick up the W on Saturday night, Julien was extremely pleased with his effort in between the pipes.
The 26-year-old Lakeville, MN native made 28 saves in his sixth start of the season for Montreal.
"I thought he was really, really good. He made some unbelievable saves. He kept us in there and gave us a chance," praised Julien. "The only thing is, he probably would like to have that second goal back [from Weegar]. Other than that, they have some point-blank chances, and just when we needed those saves he kept making them and kept giving us a chance. At the end of the day, we can't expect to win by scoring one goal and giving up the kinds of goals we've been giving up."
Video: Charlie Lindgren on his performance versus Florida
The veteran bench was absolutely right when he singled out the Weegar tally as the one that Lindgren thought he should've denied.
It was a simple point blast that somehow managed to find its way through him.
"I felt like I played well tonight. The second one, I think I definitely would want back. But I was just trying to battle hard. I thought overall I played a good 60 minutes," said Lindgren. "But it's unfortunate. I wish I could get that second goal back."
"It's an opportunity to go out there and show what I've got"
While things haven't exactly gone as planned this season for the Canadiens, throwing in the towel is the furthest thing from players' minds right now.
Evans, for example, has every reason in the world to play his heart out night after night in order to impress team brass.
And in his short time with the big club, he doesn't get the sense anybody in the locker room is giving up with 12 games left.
"I think for not only me, but for everyone here, it's trying to prove to everyone that they're good players. We're all pros and we want to do the best we can. It's our jobs, and for me personally it's an opportunity to go out there and show what I've got," explained Evans, who scored his second goal of the season. "I don't think there's a lack of urgency. I think everyone in here is very hungry to succeed and sometimes it just doesn't go that way."
Lindgren shared similar thoughts after the final buzzer.
"We're all competitors at the highest level. You're expected to show up every game and give it your all. Motivation here is definitely not a problem," insisted Lindgren. "Everyone is playing super hard, and that's what you should be doing."