Sun, 05 Dec 2021

Struggling Canadiens try to notch first win against Red Wings

Field Level Media
23 Oct 2021, 06:19 GMT+10

There's already a sense of desperation enveloping the Montreal Canadiens less than two weeks into the season.

Following a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals last season, the Canadiens are off to an 0-5 start for the first time since the 1995-96 season. They'll seek that elusive first victory once again on Saturday when they host Detroit.

"It's tough right now," Canadiens center Nick Suzuki told the Montreal Gazette. "The confidence for our group just seems to be low. There's plays that we make all the time and we're just not executing them. It's definitely a tough patch.

"We had some of these my first (year) and even last year, these stretches. Good teams find a way to get out of it. We need to really bounce back."

The Canadiens lost at home to Carolina 4-1 on Thursday. The only positive was the team's first power play goal, which was scored by Tyler Toffoli late in the second period.

Montreal has only scored four goals and no more than one per game. Jonathan Drouin has two of those goals.

"It's not easy to score goals," Toffoli said. "We're trying. We're slowly getting there. Not necessarily time's running out, but we've got to come together and capitalize on our opportunities."

Suzuki believes the team is trying too hard to break out of its offensive funk.

"When everyone gets frustrated you start to get on different pages and that's never a good thing for a hockey team," he said. "It's definitely really frustrating right now. Somehow we have to find a way to get that first one in. But we started (Thursday's) game well. Some pucks just didn't go in the net or they were right in the crease."

The Red Wings weren't having difficulty scoring until Thursday. They were shut out by Calgary 3-0 after going 2-0-1 in their first three games.

Detroit will be playing its first road game. The game in Montreal is the front end of a back-to-back, as the Red Wings face Chicago on Sunday. The Blackhawks are off to an 0-4-1 start.

Detroit knows it will be facing two hungry teams this weekend.

"Calgary was desperate, they hadn't won, and they were more desperate than we were," center Dylan Larkin said. "Montreal and Chicago, they're going to be fighting and scratching and clawing for everything they can get. We have to have the same attitude and match their desperation."

The Wings controlled the game against Calgary in stretches, particularly in the second period when they outshot the Flames 14-4. They were unable to answer Calgary's two first-period goals and the Flames clinched it with an empty-netter.

"The passes weren't crisp enough, we fumbled pucks and we have to be way sharper as a five-man unit," Larkin said. "The whole game was kind of choppy. There was no flow, guys fighting the puck and not much going on."

The Red Wings, who play seven of their next eight games on the road, scored 13 goals in their first three games.

"Over the first two periods we created enough chances to score and we didn't," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We didn't have the same level of energy that we've had, especially in the third period."

Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi, who leads the team with five goals, will sit out against Montreal because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. It's the first of nine games in Canada Bertuzzi is expected to miss this season because the country is restricting unvaccinated travelers.

--Field Level Media

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