NEWARK, N.J. — After Monday night’s 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, Canadiens coach Claude Julien was asked about his frustration level with the power play, which went 0-for-4.“Next question,” Julien said.Julien and his coaching staff are going to have to find an answer to the power play’s problems over the final 19 games or this team isn’t going to make the playoffs. The power play is now 1-for-19 over the last seven games, during which the Canadiens have a 2-5 record. As a result, they are barely clinging to the first wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a one-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins, who both hold a game in hand.
Canadiens’ Paul Byron is on his way to scoring on a short-handed goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Newark, N.J.
Al Bello /
The Canadiens’ power play ranks 30th in the NHL with a 12.7 per cent success rate.When asked before the game if he thought about getting a player before Monday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline who might help the power play, Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said: “Our power play, I don’t think it’s one player that’s going to make a difference. Our power play hasn’t been good and it’s not because of just one player. So I think as a group we need to be better.”Much better, or the power play is going to continue to cost the Canadiens — who rank seventh in the NHL in five-on-five scoring — games and points in the standings.“Just simplify,” Max Domi said when asked about the power play. “Shoot and get in the dirty areas and one will go off a leg or something and we’ll start rolling.”The Canadiens also have to do something about their slow starts to games.“That’s been the problem … we played well in the second half,” Julien said. “We didn’t start the game off well and that was the whole story of this game. So there’s not much more to say except to say that we needed to start on time.”The Canadiens, who were losing 2-0 after two periods, also need their No. 1 defence pairing of Shea Weber and Victor Mete to be better. They were on the ice for both Devils goals.“We’ll deal with that stuff internally,” Julien said when asked about the defensive duo’s play. “I’m not going to comment on that kind of stuff. We’ll look at the situations. I know both goals got beat from the wall back to the front of the net, so we can do a better job there.”Julien added that Weber was feeling fine and that he wasn’t going to start any injury rumours.Bergevin gave his team a vote of confidence when he made only one minor deal on trade-deadline day, acquiring forward Jordan Weal from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Michael Chaput. Bergevin’s players didn’t respond against the Devils.“It’s got nothing to do with the GM giving a vote of confidence,” Julien said. “We just didn’t start on time and we didn’t play well enough tonight to win a hockey game. This time of year you got to play 60 minutes and we didn’t do that.”“This game’s definitely a piss off,” defenceman Jordie Benn said. “We’re going to go into Detroit and get a little more jam to our game.”Hopefully for the Canadiens they can find that jar of jam Tuesday against the Red Wings (7:30 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).“It’s nice to see that Berg and the coaching staff believe in us,” Benn said. “We just didn’t have it tonight.”The question about his power play was the last one a frustrated Julien took before ending his short post-game media scrum by saying “thank you” and walking away.It’s now up to the coach and his staff to do some serious work to fix a brutal power firstname.lastname@example.org/StuCowan1Related