GLENDALE – It was a tough night in the desert for the Canadiens.
FULL HOUSE: The Canadiens’ dressing room was busier than usual following Monday’s game in Arizona, with every player opting to stay at his respective stall to face questions from the media about what went wrong in the 6-2 loss.
“I can’t explain it. I just know we need everybody on top of their game and we weren’t on top of our game tonight for the last 40 minutes,” admitted Lars Eller, whose team was trailing just 3-2 at the midway point in the second period. “I think tonight we all have to take responsibility. We have to look at ourselves. It’s not the game plan or anything else. The coaching staff gets us ready. We just weren’t there the last 40 minutes and we paid for our mistakes. It doesn’t matter who you play – every team is too good now. If you’re even lacking five or 10 percent, you’re going to look bad. We looked bad tonight.”
GROUP WORK: Having dropped into 12th spot in the Eastern Conference standings following Monday’s loss to the Coyotes, the Canadiens now have less than a third of the season remaining to make up points in the standings. They know if they want to claw their way back into playoff position, it’s going to take a collective group effort – something P.K. Subban admits was missing in Arizona.
“All we can control is how we play. There’s no excuse for not showing up with the right effort and we didn’t have the right effort tonight,” said Subban, who played a team-high 23:13 but was held shotless for just a seventh time this season. “In professional sports, it’s tough to have success unless you’re engaged emotionally and you have that edge. Sometimes it’s fine for somebody to even cross the line a little bit, just to bring that emotion. That’s what we need from here on out. We need guys to be playing with heavy hearts and emotionally. We just didn’t have that today.
“The first thing you do, everybody’s got to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves if they’re playing their best hockey right now. If somebody in this room can look at themselves in the mirror and say they’re playing their best hockey, we’re in trouble,” stressed the All-Star blue-liner, whose team has now given up 12 goals in the past two games. “We need more guys to step up and elevate their game.”
MOVING ON: With no interest in dwelling on the team’s performance in Arizona, Habs captain Max Pacioretty is ready to start looking ahead and preparing for the challenge that awaits the Canadiens in Colorado to close out the three-game road swing on Wednesday night.
“We just show up to the rink every day and try to do our job. Tonight we didn’t do our job,” said Pacioretty, whose 15:38 of ice time marked his second-lowest workload of the season after the 8:32 he played against Columbus before seeing his night end early due to injury on January 26. “We have to come to the rink tomorrow and try to make each other better. We have to make sure we’re prepared for Colorado. This season isn’t over. We have 25 games left and we have to bounce back from this.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Game Highlights: Canadiens @Coyotes
Scouting the field
All hands on deck