Canadiens Game Day: Habs playoff hopes take another big hit

“Carey will face the Voladores. They are a team in our conference. That’s why Lindgren will be in goal tonight. “

This is how the Canadiens coach Claude Julien explained his decision to start Charlie Lindgren in a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night at the Bell Center and save Carey Price for Thursday’s game in Philadelphia against the Flyers (7 pm, TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM)

Price, the Canadiens’ 84 million-dollar man, won his last two starts, while stopping 72 of 73 shots, but Julien decided to go back in the first game of the set in a row.

Thursday’s game is now huge after a 4-1 loss to Chicago with Lindgren making 24 saves, as the Canadians beat the Blackhawks 33-28.

The Canadiens now have a 20-21-7 record, including 9-12-4 at home, and follow the Flyers by nine points for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers beat the Blues 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday night in St. Louis for a double blow to the hopes of the Habs.

“Overall, I think that was our worst game when I’m here, I say it for myself,” said Ilya Kovalchuk, who received assistance in the goal of Phillip Danault and now has a total of 1-4-5 in six games since who joined the Canadiens “It’s unacceptable. We especially need those points right now, so … I’m disappointed.

“Tomorrow is a life or death game for us because I think we are now nine points behind,” Kovalchuk added. “Tomorrow is a great game. Then we just need to regroup a little. As I said, the way we play tonight is unacceptable.

The good news for the Canadiens is that the game officially sold 21,302.

Bad start for Lindgren

The Blackhawks’ first goal at 5:42 of the first period was short and was ugly.

Lindgren went behind the net to stop the disc and then there was confusion between the goalkeeper and Tomas Tatar about who would take it.

Neither of them took it and Drake Caggiula of the Blackhawks happily picked it up and fed Zack Smith in front of an empty net for the goal.

“Just lack of communication,” Lindgren said after the game. “It’s unfortunate just because it’s such a preventable goal. That shouldn’t happen. It’s crap that I did it and then it puts them 1-0 and it’s not the way you want to start a hockey game.”

Was it difficult for the goalkeeper to refocus after that?

“I have let many goals into my career and many strange goals as well,” Lindgren said. “You just have to forget that and move on. Obviously, I was not happy immediately, but I took a deep breath and did it again. “

Lindgren now has a 0-3-0 record this season with the Canadiens, along with an average of 3.40 goals against and a .892 save percentage.

Expensive penalty

Max Domi of the Canadiens received a very heavy penalty at 10:52 of the second period and 35 seconds later Alex DeBrincat scored a power goal to put the Blackhawks 3-1.

Domi was on the bench for the rest of the period.

“I did what I had to do … that simple,” Julien said after the game when asked about the bench. “I don’t have to explain it anymore. It’s not the first time I receive a serious penalty. There are consequences and sometimes those messages are much longer than the situation right there.”

The Canadiens had a power play at 15:24 of the second period when Caggiula received a high penalty, but Domi remained on the bench.

“It doesn’t matter who you put yourself in Max’s place,” Julien said when asked about that decision. “Max is not the guy who will score goals all the time here. The power game is a five-man unit, that simple.”

The Blackhawks scored the power goal after Lindgren had lost his blocker and his cane during a fight and was playing with his bare left hand.

“During that play my thigh and hip tensed, so I was more focused on that,” said Lindgren, whom a team coach attended after the goal. “I knew if I put my hand behind my back that I probably wasn’t going to be hit.” But that was a kind of group there and I don’t even remember how I lost my blocker and stayed there. Everything happened fast, so hurting me wasn’t really on my radar. “

Domi accepts the blame

Domi wasn’t looking for excuses after the game when asked about his expensive penalty.

“You see the repetition, obviously it is a penalty,” he said. “But in real time I didn’t realize he had his head. He would be the first to tell you that he was trying to manipulate him or something. There was no interaction. I hit him … I hit him again and when I turned around I grabbed him a little too high and then I threw it down. It’s a shame. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a shame. But I certainly wasn’t trying to do that. “

Did Julien say something when he returned to the bench after the goal of the power game was scored?

“He didn’t tell me anything,” Domi said. “But when he gets penalized and the team scores, you can’t do that. It’s a coach’s decision. You have to respect that, he’s the boss. I was waiting to be called and if I had the chance to go back there, I was going to try do everything possible to compensate. “

Domi returned to the ice in the first minute of the third period.

“Obviously, you want to achieve that next goal,” he said of his thoughts after being sent to the bank. “They played well tonight. They were strong in their sticks, won many battles and beat us. I think we have to find a way here. I have to find a way to keep it and be better. “

Power game “a disaster”

The Canadians went 0 by 3 in the power game and abandoned the short-handed goal. The Canadiens now have 2 of 29 in the power game in their last nine games.

“You have to be sharp in the power game,” Kovalchuk said. “Our power game is a disaster right now. We have to watch the album and be simple. We tried to make those beautiful passes between sticks, skates, it didn’t work.

“I can speak for myself, the album was jumping everywhere,” Kovalchuk added. “Poor decisions from me. You know that the coach trusts us that he puts us there to make a difference and today we didn’t. So we have to regroup and it’s a great game tomorrow. “

Kovalchuk recorded 20:57 of ice time, the most of any advance of the Canadians, and finished the game plus-1.

The boy from the hometown of the Hawks

Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks, who grew up in Châteauguay on the south coast of Montreal, became a goalkeeper because of Patrick Roy.

“Patrick Roy is the reason he wanted to be a goalkeeper,” Crawford told The Gazette a few years ago in an interview. “He was the man of yesteryear and wanted to be like him.”

Crawford certainly plays like Roy when the Blackhawks come to the Bell Center.

Howard S. Billings High School graduate achieved 31 saves Wednesday night for his sixth straight victory at the Bell Center, during which he has an average of 0.75 goals against and a .979 savings percentage.

Crawford, who won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013, improved his record this season to 8-13-2 with an average of 3.00 goals against and a saving percentage of .908.

Armia and Gallagher sit down

Joel Armia and Brendan Gallagher were not in the lineup of the Canadians against the Blackhawks.

On Tuesday, Armia participated in his first full practice with the team since he suffered a hand injury in a 6-2 victory over the Jets in Winnipeg on December 23. Armia, who also participated in Wednesday’s optional morning skate, missed his eleventh straight game, but there is a chance he could play Thursday night in Philadelphia.

Gallagher missed his third consecutive game after suffering headaches. Gallagher previously missed four games with a concussion, returned to play in a 4-2 loss to the Oilers on January 9, and then experienced headaches and was closed again.

“(Gallagher) doesn’t really have a headache right now, but he’s at rest,” Julien said Wednesday morning. “As you know, these things (concussions) can sometimes be difficult to diagnose and all I’m going to say is that (team doctors) don’t think it has anything to do with the first concussion. But is it a bit a setback “We don’t know. So all we know, as an organization and as medical staff, is that you need to rest. We have to make sure that is solved before you put it back into action.”

“There is nothing else to clarify, guys,” Julien added. “It’s unknown. Yes, he’s here … he’s here every day and he feels good, no more headaches. That’s where he is, boys, and I can’t tell you more. There are many unknown things when it comes to that kind of things “.

Whats Next?

The Canadiens took a flight to Philadelphia after the game and will play the Flyers on Thursday night (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). The Canadiens have a practice scheduled for 11 am Friday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard and then face the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday at the Bell Center (7 pm, SNE, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

After that, Canadians will have their rest week in the NHL schedule with their next game on Monday, January 27 at the Bell Center against Washington Capitals (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

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