We saw what this team is capable of against Ottawa, and thought performances like the one against Toronto were mere aberrations...
We were wrong.
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SETTING: TD Banknorth Garden in Boston to 16,816 fans, many of whom looked stunned and near-suicidal in their bleu-blanc-rouge.
PLOT: I had predicted the game would resemble Mike Komisarek and Milan Lucic colliding at full speed... little did I know, the most notable collisions between the two would be Lucic's fist connecting with Komisarek's face, and the game played out more like a fat kid against a twinkie. Montreal looked absolutely listless, uninterested and uncompetitive. Boston didn't exactly look like a group of superstars, but did enough to humiliate the Canadiens from start to finish.
HEROES: Few and far between on the Montreal side, though Saku Koivu, Francis Bouillon and Guillaume Latendresse in particular appeared as though they at least cared... a little. The rest of the team's greatest contribution? Making Shawn Thornton, Marco Sturm and Stephane Yelle look like the second coming of the Legion of Doom.
ANTAGONISTS: Anybody wearing black and yellow, but mostly Milan Lucic... what can I say about this character? I'm quite certain I would love to have him on my team, but playing for the Bruins, he shall heretofore be the focus of Habs fan hatred for the duration of his career, and maybe longer... the big galoot runs all over the opposition and runs his mouth all night long with a perennial smirk on his face. Give him the spotlight after a goal or a fight and he comes across like a jacked-up wrestler after one too many Red Bulls. Funny how quiet he was when Laraque wanted words with him earlier in the game... Lucic voodoo dolls available soon.
CLIMAX: Price's penalty for 'playing the puck in the restricted zone' (the first time I've seen that call)? It became rather clear following the Dandenault-Komisarek misstep that led to the B's first goal and a couple more deflating goals that it was gonna be 'one of those nights'. The penalty to Price was just the nail in the coffin.
DÉNOUEMENT: It was a long, painful unwinding, from the end of the first period to the final siren... Komisarek, you may have noticed, did not play again following his fight with Lucic. Barring an injury (oh please, no), his absence was a message from Carbonneau, who does not want his #2 defenceman goaded into fighting; that's not Komisarek's responsibility anymore.
THEMES: Humiliation, deja vu (Re: Toronto), inconsistent efforts... 4 straight listless outings on the road now. The Canadiens didn't lose like this when they were bad, so why now? Still only one line performing, and the Carbo-carousel of line juggling has officially begun. Also, why is Laraque so important to this team if nobody will fight him? Komisarek and Bouillon shouldn't have to do that job anymore.
Some of the rest is too hard to talk about right now... on to the next--Philly on Saturday, and a good test for a team struggling to assert itself.