The Canadiens were top-three in the NHL when down a man through the first half of the season, but lately, it’s been their most glaring weakness. Montreal gave up two goals on three Carolina man advantages in a 2-1 loss on Tuesday night. In their last six games, they’ve surrendered 12 short-handed goals, killing off only 59 per cent of opponents’ chances.
The last five goals scored against Montreal – including all three in a 4-3 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday – have come when they are short-handed.
“We’re sitting back too much and letting their skill players make plays,” said winger Chris Higgins. “We’re giving them too much.
“We had one of the best PKs in the league so we’re confident we can do it. We just have to get back to what we were doing.”
Coach Guy Carbonneau had another suggestion – stop taking penalties.
He was especially irked by a holding call against captain Saku Koivu at 9:27 of the third period that led to Frantisek Kaberle’s game-winning goal.
“Holding – 180 feet from our net,” Carbonneau said of Koivu’s foul in the Carolina zone. “We have to cut down on bad penalties.
“It seems to be every game now. And we have to clear pucks. On both (Carolina) goals, we had possession of the puck and didn’t get it out (of the zone).”
Otherwise, Carbonneau liked his team’s effort. Scoring chances were there, but Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward was solid.
“I thought we played good enough to win,” he said.