MONTREAL - Here are a few key storylines from Thursday night's 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at the Bell Centre.
'We got outplayed in the third period'
There's no denying where things went wrong against the Oilers.
Claude Julien's squad couldn't preserve their one-goal advantage heading into the final frame and ended up surrendering three unanswered markers to the opposition - including an empty-netter.
That was the hockey game right there, and it resulted in their eighth consecutive defeat.
"We got outplayed in the third period. It's probably what's been happening to our team during this stretch here," said Brendan Gallagher, who returned to the Canadiens' lineup after missing the previous four games with a concussion. "We're in a game, and the third period's got to be your best. That hasn't been the case."
Video: Brendan Gallagher on the loss to the Oilers
Why is that happening again and again? The 27-year-old right-winger offered up a rather detailed explanation.
"It's probably a mental battle right now. It's the psychology of it. You can say all the right things, you can attempt to do all the right things, and that thought creeps into your mind until you're able to get results, and we haven't been able to do it," said Gallagher, after logging 17:19 of ice time versus Edmonton. "It's at the point where it's happened so many times. It's happened over and over again. That thought probably creeps into your mind and it affects your play, and that's something we've got to get rid of."
The captain speaks
Like the rest of his teammates, defenseman Shea Weber isn't pleased with the Canadiens' struggles of late.
The disappointment is evident in his voice and in his words alike.
"Things are snowballing pretty bad. It seems like the one breakdown or the one bounce is not going the right way right now," mentioned Weber. "Everybody wants to get out of this. It's just so frustrating."
Video: Phillip Danault on the impact of Brendan Gallagher
Winning would go a long way towards keeping the club's spirits up, of course, but it just hasn't been in the cards over the last two weeks.
Instead, it's been one letdown after another.
"Right now, we're just finding ways to lose," admitted Weber. "Guys are squeezing their sticks trying to score. We're squeezing our sticks trying to keep the puck out of our net and win games. It's getting worse and it isn't happening."
Committed to the cause
During his postgame press conference, Julien didn't mince words about his group's commitment to get back on the winning track as soon as possible.
"We don't have the right to give up and we don't have the right to pity ourselves. We're paid to do a job and we have to keep trying to find the solution," stated Julien. "It's as simple as that."
From his vantage point behind the bench, though, his players are giving everything they've got and making every effort to succeed.
The results just aren't there.
"Regardless of the losses, I don't think you're seeing a team that's giving up. We aren't winning, but this isn't a team that's giving up, that shows up at a game and gets dominated," mentioned Julien. "We're still doing our work and trying to keep the guys motivated. Every game is a new challenge, and it will be the same the next game."