BROSSARD – The solution to the Canadiens’ early season struggles lies within the four walls of the team’s dressing room.
After dropping a sixth consecutive game on Monday night, the Habs realize the secret to snapping their losing streak may be to employ a less-is-more approach against the Flyers. Despite firing 271 shots on goal so far in 2011-12 – good enough for third in the NHL in that category – the Canadiens have been held to just 18 goals to start the campaign. Planting himself in the Panthers’ crease for a textbook power play deflection on Monday, Erik Cole provided the example of what his team needs to do to convert more of their opportunities.
“When you’re in a situation like this, it always seems like the best recipe is to just simplify and to look at your work ethic,” explained Cole, who scored his first goal of the year against Florida. “If you simplify your game and you’re working hard, the past has shown that you can work yourself out of these things and find a way to overcome."
“I think we look like a much faster team when we’re a simpler, more direct team, but at the same time there’s a really high skill level here,” he added. “We need to have a direct, simple approach and when you do that, you’ll get those opportunities to let the creativity come out. They’ll open up. First and foremost you have to bring the work ethic and move the puck forward and be direct in your attack.”
Having watched Monday’s game from the bench for the first time this season, Carey Price got a different perspective than he’s had in the team’s previous seven outings. The All-Star netminder had a similar solution in mind for Wednesday’s game.
“Obviously communication is a big part of the game. We have to simplify a lot of the things out there and get back to basics,” confirmed Price. “We’re a meat and potatoes team. I’ve been in this situation before and feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t work because nobody else feels sorry for you. We just have to buck up and get it done.”
Facing the 5-2-1 Flyers on Wednesday before suiting up for back-to-back games against the Bruins isn’t the easiest path to breaking out of a slump. Racking up a few wins against tough Eastern Conference opponents, however, might be exactly what the Habs need to get their season back on track.
“Let’s hope it’s just what the doctor ordered,” mentioned Michael Cammalleri. “We have a big game coming up tomorrow against an Eastern opponent and obviously the Boston games after that but let’s just worry about playing a big game tomorrow.”
Brian Gionta is just as confident in his team’s ability to bounce back on Wednesday night.
“We’ve had spurts so we know it’s there,” he stressed. “Right now we’re a team where once something bad happens, it snowballs. You have to stay positive, work hard to find the things in our game that are working and do those things consistently. We know we’ve got a team that can get it done; it’s just a matter of doing it a little more consistently.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSOA game of inches Habs edged by PanthersReturns and reinforcements