MONTREAL - After watching his troops fall to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, head coach Claude Julien didn't hesitate to share his dissatisfaction.
"It's embarrassing and unacceptable," said Julien, following the 5-4 loss at the Bell Centre to the 31st-ranked team in the NHL standings. "We spent two days talking about being careful against this team and sticking to our game plan. We're really disappointed."
Video: Claude Julien's postgame press conference vs. ARI
And, with good reason. It marked the first time all year that the Coyotes had secured a victory in regulation time, snapping a five-game winless streak in the process.
Making things worse was the fact that the Canadiens were in control of the contest early on, leading Rick Tocchet's contingent 2-0 through 20 minutes of play on goals by Brendan Gallagher and Paul Byron.
Unfortunately, after newcomer Nicolas Deslauriers dropped the gloves early in the second period, things just seemed to go downhill from there.
Instead of the Canadiens seizing more momentum from Deslauriers' tussle with Brad Richardson, the tables essentially turned the opposite way.
The Coyotes lit the lamp three times in the second and then scored two power play goals in the final period to rattle off just their third win of the season.
"We got sloppy in the second period, after that fight," said Julien, during his postgame press conference. "That gave them energy. We got sloppy and we didn't respect our game plan."
Like Julien, Gallagher didn't mince words when it came to assessing the reasons behind Thursday night's defeat.
"I don't care who you're playing. It sucks when you lose. It sucks even more when you lose and you feel like you could've done more. To a man in here, we could have done more," said Gallagher, who scored his team-leading eighth goal in the loss. "You've got to earn it. We didn't earn it. We deserved the fate we got."
Video: MTL Recap: Habs cough up lead in loss to Coyotes
For his part, goaltender Charlie Lindgren turned aside 27 of 32 shots against during another stellar effort in between the pipes.
"Give that Arizona team credit. They're a high-skilled young team. They can skate. It's a really tough loss," said Lindgren, who fell to 3-2-1 on the year. "That's hockey. It's not always going to be sunshine and rainbows."