ST. LOUIS — The Canadiens have a severe case of the St. Louis blues.
Montreal’s losing streak in St. Louis reached four games Thursday night as the home team parlayed sloppy special-teams play from the Canadiens and solid goaltending from 25-year-old rookie Jordan Binnington into a 4-1 win at the Enterprise Center.
The loss dropped the Canadiens out of a playoff position. They fell one point behind the New York Islanders, who were 4-3 winners over the Rangers. The Islanders are in a great position because they have three games in hand on the Canadiens.
The Blues took advantage of their special teams play to take a 2-0 led in the first period, scoring a power-play goal and a short-handed goal.
The Blues didn’t waste any time grabbing an early lead. Shea Weber was sent off for high-sticking during a scrum in cheap nhl jerseys
front of the Montreal net at 1:14 and Robert Thomas showed his perseverance to open the scoring at 1:56. Carey Price made the save on Vladimir Tarasenko’s shot from the faceoff circle and stopped Ryan O’Reilly on the rebound. But the Canadiens couldn’t clear the pick and Thomas scored after whiffing on his first attempt.
Everyone knows the Montreal power play is terrible, but the Canadiens hit a new low on their two opportunities in the first period. They failed to get a shot on goal on their first power play and they gave up a short-handed goal on the first shift of their second power play. O’Reilly won a faceoff against Max Domi, who fell and the Blues won the race down the ice. Oskar Sundqvist got behind the defence and took a pass from O’Reilly to score his eighth goal of the season.
Sammy Blais, who was recalled from San Antonio on Wednesday, scored the final St. Louis goal and again, he was alone as he broke in on Price.
The Canadiens did score a power-play goal in the second period, ending an 0-for-13 drought, but Brendan Gallagher was attempting a pass when the puck went in off Alex Pietrangelo’s skate. It was Gallagher’s 17th goal of the season. It was the only goal scored against Binnington, who shut out Philadelphia in his first NHL start on Monday.
The Canadiens won only 14 per cent of their faceoffs in the first period. Domi won one of five, while rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi won one of seven and the usually reliable Michael Chaput lost all three of his draws. Phillip Danault was the Canadiens’ best faceoff performer, winning two of six for a 33-per-cent success rate.
There was another defensive breakdown, which led to the Blues’ third goal in the second period. Weber jumped into the play and nobody backed him up. The result was a 2-on-1 rush with defenceman Jay Bouwmeester beating Price through the five hole after a pass from Robby Fabbri. Sherbrooke native David Perron had the second assist on the goal to run his points streak to nine games.
The Canadiens are back at the Bell Centre to face the Colorado Avalanche Saturday and travel to Boston for a game Monday.