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League-leading Hawks rip floundering Canadiens

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/12/2011 (3080 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford shuts the door on Montreal's Louis Leblanc.


Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford shuts the door on Montreal's Louis Leblanc.

CHICAGO -- The mood in the Montreal Canadiens' dressing room following their 5-1 NHL loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night could best be described as toxic.

While Max Pacioretty was reluctant to discuss his failure to generate offence, defenceman P.K. Subban was quick to shoulder the blame for the loss. In fact, he also took the rap for the Canadiens' loss Monday in Boston.

"People can talk about the coaching and this and that, it's not that and it's not the goaltending,'' Subban said. "It's guys that should know better and I have to be better for my teammates.

"It's not a good feeling when you know that 22 guys, no matter if they say it or not, know you're not pulling your weight,'' he added. "I'm minus-4 in the past two games, it can't happen, not when you're playing 25, 26 minutes a night. You gotta be better. I know I have to be better. I know I cost my team two games in a row.''

Subban has been the Canadiens' leader in ice time this season, but he questioned whether he deserved it.

"You want every opportunity, you want to play on the power play and the penalty-kill (but) you have to play better.''

Subban could hardly be blamed for the Blackhawks' first goal. He was covering Jonathan Toews in front of the crease when Andrew Brunette's pass from behind the net went in off his skate.

But Subban did cost the Canadiens in the third period when a lazy clearing pass led to Viktor Stalberg's goal that gave the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead at 10:29.

"At about the 10-minute mark of the third period, that's when we sort of let things fall by the wayside,'' said head coach Randy Cunneyworth.

"You get on your own page there and you stop doing the things you've been doing well and keeping us in the game. We completely got away from it at that point on.''

But Cunneyworth wasn't going to heap all the blame on Subban.

"He knows he can be better in those situations but, in my mind, the puck should never have entered the zone (on the Stalberg goal),'' Cunneyworth said. "We were looking for something a little easier and we got something a little tougher. We had an opportunity along the wall and there was a change, a late change and maybe we were looking for a too-many-men penalty, but again you have to play on. They were able to enter our zone untouched and that's unacceptable.''

Burnette's goal was a lucky bounce but, Cunneyworth noted: "Good teams make fortune go their way and, obviously, they were fortunate with a goal off a foot but, when you're bearing down on the net, good things can happen. Everybody's throwing the puck at the net but, at that point, we still had a good game going.

"The game we had early on, we got pucks in deep but got away from that,'' Cunneyworth said. "Three-quarters of the game we were in it even when we were behind.''

Cunneyworth said he faced a quick turnaround before tonight's game in Winnipeg.

"I'm not sure at this point,'' he said when asked whether he could use the frustration as a motivator.

"We have some angry guys in there, frustrated guys, and we'll see if we can use that frustration to our advantage tomorrow, but we have to get our heads into the game.''

The angry, frustrated group included Pacioretty, who said he had to do a better job before he beat a hasty retreat to the showers.

-- Postmedia News


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