DETROIT - The Canadiens have been battling adversity on the injury front as of late, and they’ve also been taking a hit in the win-loss column, too.
On Thursday night, Michel Therrien’s troops suffered their fourth straight defeat, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Errors proved costly for the CH, particularly in the second half of third period. With the Canadiens clinging to a 2-1 lead, Jeff Blashill’s squad rallied with two strikes in quick succession, as Justin Abdelkader scored a power play goal at 12:48 before Darren Helm lit the lamp again 71 seconds later with the eventual game-winner to run Detroit’s point-streak to 12 straight games.
“It was our second game in 48 hours. The effort was there, but we did some things that we just can’t do. We took a bad penalty on the tying goal, then there was a bad giveaway on the winning goal. Those are things that we can’t let happen,” offered Therrien, who saw his club suffer a similar fate a day earlier, surrendering two quick third-period goals to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre that cost them valuable points in the standings. “We’re going through some tough times right now. There’s no denying it, but we have to continue keeping our heads up. It will make us a better team later on.”
Tomas Plekanec shared similar thoughts in the aftermath of the Canadiens’ eighth loss of the year in regulation time, one that proved particularly disappointing after Tomas Fleischmann managed to break a 1-1 draw 4:30 into the final frame with his eighth goal of the season.
“We’re just making mistakes at the wrong time. They’re little mistakes and little details, but they count big time. We’ve got to find a way to do those good things for all 60 minutes,” shared Plekanec, who accounted for two of the Canadiens’ 25 shots on Red Wings goaltender Petr Mrazek. “It doesn’t matter when you allow those goals. You’ve just got to find a way to win those games. We’re doing a lot of the right things, but we’ve got to find a way to finish it off.”
Unlike at the start of the year, the Canadiens are also struggling to find the back of the net right now, too. They’ve scored 14 goals in their last seven games, which according to Plekanec simply isn’t good enough – no matter who their opposition on any given night might be.
“We’re not happy about it. That’s one thing we talked about – we need to start scoring again,” admitted Plekanec, who hasn’t registered a goal in his last 14 games. “We’ve got to start scoring some ugly goals around the net, some goals like the Red Wings did against us off [Abdelkader’s] skate in the third period. We’ve got to play all 60 minutes, and then just find a way to score more goals. It’s hard to win with one or two goals every game.”
While the Canadiens will undoubtedly put Thursday night’s tilt in the rear view mirror as quickly as possible, Charles Hudon won’t soon forget his NHL debut in Detroit. With his parents in attendance, the 21-year-old registered his first career NHL point, collecting the primary assist on Sven Andighetto’s goal in the second period.
“It’s tough to lose when you have the lead like that, but I’m happy about my first game. I was happy at the beginning of the game, that’s for sure. I was a little nervous, too. But, when things got started, I felt ready. I thought it went well,” offered Hudon, who logged 8:14 of ice time on Thursday night, finishing the game with a plus-1 differential. “There were definitely some nerves with it being my first game, but I’m happy with what I was able to show out there. I’m just going to keep working hard.”
As are the Canadiens as a collective group in an effort to get back on track come Saturday night when they play host to the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com
Game Highlights: Canadiens vs Red Wings
Gone in 42 seconds
Spreading some joy