With the roll the Habs put together after Christmas, there was increasing talk about the possibility of the squad catching the Ottawa Senators: they were just three points away going into last night's game in Ottawa, with the possibility of moving within one. After last night, however, it is clear that any statistical resemblance between the two teams was purely coincidental and not in any way reflective of the true qualitative differences between their rosters, their abilities, and even - sorry, I'm not happy today - their value as human beings.
Cristobal Huet was truly bad, allowing three goals on four shots before getting pulled. When he left the game, before it was even five minutes old, it was already over, in the practical sense. Does he want a trade or something? Curry Stat: the Gazette notes that Huet is now 0-2 in Hockey Day in Canada games against Ottawa, having surrendered 9 goals in under 30 minutes of playing time in the games this year and last.
Of course, it has been a team effort, in all fairness: the Habs have lost those games by a combined scored of 14-4. Carey Price was nearly as shaky as Huet in relief, allowing the last three goals without being heavily tested. And the Canadiens never really looked dangerous at all, despite hitting something like five or six goalposts. This game was all Ottawa, and their top line did all the damage: a hat-trick and a six-point night for Spezza, four points for Heatley and five for Alfredsson. The Senators, it seems, wanted to send the Canadiens a message about what a real top-tier NHL team looks like, and you have to think the message was received. Big time. In fact, they'll probably be picking the pieces of that message out of their backsides with tweezers for weeks.