Well, it turns out the Habs' wretched losing streak was all the fault of Carey Price's pink pads. As soon as the goalie went back to his cowboy gear, he was...well...a cowboy in the net again.
Or maybe the fault belonged to Perry Pearn. With the assistant coach axed an hour before puck drop, Randy Ladouceur descended from the press box to run the defence and PK behind the bench. Both looked leagues better than they did under the guidance, or lack thereof, of Jacques Martin's best friend.
The wakeup call Martin should have received from Pearn's firing apparently wasn't received, though. Tomas Plekanec was still on the point on the PP, even though it doesn't work. Erik Cole finally got significant time with the man advantage (4:22), but only 9:11 at even strength. This a player who's been improving in each of the last several games, and who needs icetime to score. Thirteen minutes doesn't cut it.
Still, the Canadiens managed to win despite some of those decisions, in no small part because of Yannick Weber and Max Pacioretty. Weber played nearly 22 minutes of solid defence, made the team believe it had a chance when he wired the first goal with two seconds to go in the first, and ended the night with a plus-one rating. Pacioretty played despite the wrist injury he sustained against Florida, and racked up two goals (ironically, on wrist shots) and an assist. He also provided a big, aggressive presence with skill up front, which gave the Canadiens offence a different dynamic when he was on the ice.
Other promising signs from last night included Tomas Plekanec once again racking up a 56% success rate in the faceoff circle. David Desharnais was at 53%. The team scored a PP goal, which is a rare phenomenon so far this season. And Josh Gorges posted his fourth and fifth assists; a new level of offensive contribution for the blueliner. Andrei Kostitsyn, who's been working very hard this season despite limited ice time (including a joke of 0:29 on the PP last night)and shuffling linemates, went to the net and got the go-ahead goal halfway through the second. And the PK, which has been as porous as coral, kept the Flyers off the board.
So, despite some of Martin's ongoing baffling decisions, the Habs looked like they have had enough of the losing. We'll see tonight whether the Curse of the Pink Pads or the ghost of Perry Pearn were only temporarily exorcised.