A grounding? Being sent to bed without their dinner? What can Guy Carbonneau do to motivate his cast of hangers-on that he hasn't tried already?
Based on how the Habs have played, their 4-2 loss in Vancouver should have been their sixth straight, because they really had no business leaving Denver with two points Friday night. Any positive feelings that could have come out of that win, though there should have been none, were erased by yet another loss.
Mind you, the Habs did show some improvement Sunday night, but giving up at least five odd-man rushes (I lost count after a while) is no way to win games. Three of those odd-man rushes wound up in the Canadiens net, but the real back-breaker was the horrendous line change that allowed the Canucks to go ahead 3-1 with under a minute to play in the second period.
Up until that point, the Canadiens were competing, they had to have felt they actually had a chance to win. But, yet again, an untimely error led to a very timely goal for the opposition.
Carbonneau noted after the game how other teams also make mistakes, but his team's brain farts always wind up in their own net. Why is that, exactly? Maybe it's because not every mistake in fact ends up being a goal, but when you pile mistake on to mistake on to mistake, it only seems that way.
But even though the defence has been awful this month, the guys up front have to take their fair share of blame. That's the fifth straight loss where the Canadiens scored only two goals, and the inability to maintain any semblance of pressure in the offenive end means most of the action is taking place near your net. That's a recipe for disaster.
The one positive in the game is the Canadiens didn't allow the Canucks to blow them out after going ahead 2-0 on goals 48 seconds apart in the first. Yes, at this point, that's a positive. The fact Montreal actually managed to stay in the game and pull to within one shows that maybe, just maybe, this fragility that's taken hold of this team may be starting to wane.
But elite teams don't have to grab at straws like that to find something good to say about themselves, and it's become incredibly clear the Habs aren't elite. In fact, they're barely a playoff team, and the only reason they're still fifth in the conference is because the Rangers, Panthers and Sabres also lost Sunday night.
Had all three of them won the Canadiens would have woken up Monday morning in eighth place, which is starting to look more and more like where they belong.