MONTREAL - Not that Randy Cunneyworth had the time to institute his personal philosophy on how the game should be played, but with a new bench boss, and plenty of incentive to knock off the New Jersey Devils, the Canadiens came out with one of their worst games at the Bell Centre.

The team's performance was another major surprise on a day full of them.

Lars Eller poetically delved into the team's most common problem:

"We've had a lot of great second periods, and then we go f**k it up in the third."

No one will bemoan his honesty. It shows that he cares more about the team than his own performance (Eller was great, scoring a goal, and stimulating the offensive push on several shifts).

If everyone else in the room got on that page, we might not be talking about the 12th place team in the Eastern Conference.

What was referred to as a players' only meeting was nothing more than what goes on in every locker room--whether it's after a win or a loss. The leaders of the team had some things to say about the way they were playing, some fingers to point, and a general message for all 22 guys in the room to absorb.

We weren't made aware as to what was said, but when every guy in the room is reiterating the same thing, it's pretty easy to read between the lines.

The players of the Montreal Canadiens know that the time has come for them to band together, no matter what style of game they need to concentrate on.

They know that the coach is not responsible for their success; they are.

They know that they're running out of time to make the kind of statement with their play that would have the fans, the media, and everyone else with an opinion signing a different tune.

Good Time for a Road-Trip

Anything would be friendlier to the Canadiens than the confines of the Bell Centre.

That said, their three games this week will be played in Boston, Chicago, Winnipeg.

Chicago--the NHL's third-best home team.

Boston--the NHL's fourth-best home team.

And Winnipeg--the NHL's sixth-best home team.

What would three wins in three games do for the Canadiens' confidence?

Subtle Changes

There weren't many differences on Saturday, but a couple worth noting.

-No Mike Cammalleri on the penalty kill.

-Four lines rolling.

-2-1-2 forecheck.

He Said it

"I'd like to see us play more assertively and worry about mistakes when they come."--Michael Cammalleri.

The fans agree. Do the players in the room?