The Montreal Canadiens’ plummet down the Eastern Conference standings has seen them end up on the wrong side of the highlight reel a number of times, and goaltender Mike Condon is the latest Canadien to post an unfortunate lowlight.
Condon’s error came in the first frame after the Canadiens and Minnesota Wild had both been held off the board through nearly 11 minutes of play. A blocked shot caused the puck to head back into the Montreal zone, and Condon spotted Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter attempting to chase the puck down on the forecheck.
In an attempt to turn the play back up ice quickly, Condon left his crease and skated to the top of the circles to play the puck, but his attempted pass landed right on the tape of Niederreiter. With only Alexei Emelin to beat, Niederreiter made a quick move before depositing the puck into the wide-open net:
Barring an actual empty-net goal, it’s unlikely Niederreiter scores an easier goal than that in his career. That was put on a plate for him and he made no mistake for his 15th goal of the season.
The Canadiens would do Condon a favor and get the goal back less than 90 seconds later on a goal by Mark Barberio, but Montreal would only have the game knotted 1-1 for 67 seconds. Shortly after Barberio’s goal, the Wild were able to gain possession in the Canadiens’ zone before Minnesota defenseman Matt Dumba threw a cross-ice backhand pass that ended up on the tape of Mikael Granlund, who was able to one-time it home. Minnesota would go on to a 4-1 victory.
Montreal has now lost five games in a row while Condon’s record has slipped to 17-19-6 with a 2.57 goals-against average and .906 save percentage. Since Jan. 1, Condon has only won seven of his 21 starts and the Canadiens have slipped further and further out of post-season contention. With 13 games remaining, Montreal is eight points out of a wild-card spot.