My goodness. Nos Canadiens took it on the chin tonight, a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of the Lightning, who seemed to score at will. On the powerplay that is, but to bring up that distinction only raises more uncomfortable issues for Nos Glorieux.
I appreciated the improved effort by the refs to try to weed out some of the scrumming and nonsense after the whistle, and to do it early, when they got Matthew Carle for a crosscheck against Brendan Gallagher that stood out like a sore thumb, being so late, a couple beats after the whistle had gone.
Only problem is that we were bit more often, getting penalized more, and then actually giving up powerplay goals. And these weren't scrummy bounce-off-someone's-equipment goals, they were born of tape-to-tape passes, tic-tac-toe goals, beautiful goals, heartrending goals. The kind of goals our team used to score, against the Bruins, to temper the nastiness of their assaults.
We can argue about this or that instance, like how Brandon Prust got two minors on the Lightning's first powerplay, while Braydon Coburn's Milan Lucic-approved pitchfork to his inseam got overlooked, but really, that's a detail that misses the main point: we can't beat Tampa on the scoreboard, and not really in the alley either.
I worried about how we'd let Ben Bishop off the hook for his shaky performance on Friday, how he kept muffing plays, losing the puck, letting some by that would hit the posts. How he took one off the noggin, but he hadn't hamburglared it and ducked out of its way, he somehow saved that David Desharnais slapper too. I thought that we should have put that in the win column, that we can't give the Lightning too many mulligans like that, in what should be at best an evenly-matched series. Chances are a few games will be very close and determined by a lucky bounce I thought, so those we clearly dominate we should put away.
Now sure enough, they go home up 2-0, with momentum and confidence and chemistry and a rhythm and whatever other cliché you can come up with.
Meanwhile, it's not even like Carey Price was good or bad, he never had a chance on most of those goals. While we're crying out in frustration when our passes go through the slot or even the crease but fail to connect, Carey's up against pinpoint passes that are cradled by their snipers and passed off or shot again, usually into a deserted net. As football coaches say, there's no defence against execution. A perfect pass is a perfect pass.
And now we get to wait until Wednesday for Game 3. Great.
Sometimes I wonder if those criminals on death row who launch appeal after appeal really benefit from all that reprieve, delaying the inevitable. I wonder if they wouldn't be better off to just get it over with.