Is it time for Montreal Canadiens fans to panic yet?
For Guy Carbonneau, it is certainly time to breath in and breath out, try not to lose patience, and have a little talk with the team.
The Habs came into Ottawa Saturday evening looking forward to getting closer to the Sens in the Eastern Conference lead.
However, Daniel Alfredsson, "Alfie," was back in the game, rejoining his best teammates, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza.
Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet was first to feel the league's best lineup comeback. In the game's first five minutes, Huet was beaten three times on four shots, twice by Jason Spezza and once by Daniel Alfredsson. No need to note that Carbonneau did not wait longer to send Carey Price on the ice to replace Huet.
The rookie, who came freshly from Hamilton, and lost 2-4 to Toronto last Thursday, made a decent start, but it was too little too late for the Habs.
With 22 saves on 25 shots, Price was beaten by Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, who was happy to get his first carreer hat-trick.
However, it is not as if the Habs did not get some good scoring chances. Once Price came in the net, there was a momentum change for Montreal, who started to have more control of the game.
A few Senators penalties—five in the second period alone—also added to the momentum swing.
It was only when the Habs got a two-men advantage that they could beat Ray Emery, who was as great past times in the playoffs. On the play, Carey Price got his first NHL point, after a pass to Sergei Kostitsyn, who himself assisted brother Andrei for the Habs' only goal.
But despite some other threats, such as Kovalev's five shots on goal, or Latendresse's one-on-one, their night was over. The tense atmosphere in the third period showed the team's frustration. Francis Bouillon and Maxime Lapierre got ten minutes each for game misconducts, and Sergei Kostitsyn exchanges some arguments with Wade Redden.
Not surprisingly, Coach Carbonneau had no comments to the media after the game. But for the few words he said, the sound of his voice and the killing look in his eyes showed very well the mood he was in!
It would be too hard to analyze what went wrong in Montreal's play. It has been their last two games that they did not show any resistance to the other teams, giving them scoring chances, power plays, and letting them get on the puck first.
After their loss to Toronto, Carbo blamed the media for making too much fuss about the team's good performances, which according to him, might have given them too much confidence.
Another factor may be also Roman Hamrlik's absence, leaving a large gap on the blue line. Although Coach Carbonneau ensures that Harmlik does not have anything to do with the loss, it seems like since Hamrlik got sick, the team is having trouble stopping their opponents.
Last year, as happened this season, exactly on Hockey day, Huet gave up 4 goals before being replaced by his backup, Aebischer, and the Habs lost 8-3 at the Scotiabank arena.
Coach Carbonneau did not tell the media if he would hold a practice session this Sunday, before the team flies to Florida to face Tampa Bay next Tuesday, and the Panthers Wednesday.
Sunday morning, they recalled D Ryan O'Byrne from Hamilton. O'Byrne already played with Montreal before, but was sidelined with a thumb fracture. The organization then sent him back to the AHL before making a comeback with the big boys.
With the Habs' recent struggles at the blue line, O'Byrne might be much needed help for the Canadiens.