A person's level of sanity is the difference between their expectations and reality.
For a number of weeks Habs fans have been expecting this team to find a way to turn their season around, and re-capture the spark of one of the greatest starts in Montreal Canadiens history. Now, it seems like the expectation is that this season is over and the time has come to ride it out and put all our hopes aside until next year, which seems to be in line with the real outcome for this team despite the tremendous start.
For some, this gives a reason to stop watching. To tune out until next year. That's perfectly understandable. At the same time, there are still many reasons to watch.
Today's reason to watch is Connor McDavid. The rookie phenom has five points in two games since returning from a clavicle injury that had him sidelined for 37 games. McDavid has been rolling at a 1.33 point-per-game pace (17 points in 15 games), which projects him to 69 points had he played a full 52 games to this point in the season (six less than Patrick Kane, who leads the NHL right now).
Ben Scrivens gets the start today on the big national stage, as Hockey Day in Canada kicks off with this game between the Habs and Oilers. This is the second game of a four-game homestand for the Habs, who will be back on the ice tomorrow afternoon to face the Hurricanes for the second game of their annual Superbowl weekend back-to-backs.
Win or lose, it should be an entertaining game today, with the Oilers' firepower and run-and-gun style. It's been a while since the Canadiens have had fun playing hockey, which in my opinion, was a 5-2 win at the Winter Classic. When the Canadiens are having fun, they seem to play better. I don't expect them to win as many games as they need to in order to make the playoffs, but that doesn't mean we can't still have fun watching this team play hockey.
Line-up notes: Nathan Beaulieu will be out today in favour of Mark Barberio; Ben Scrivens gets the start; Sven Andrighetto has been moved up to the third line alongside Lars Eller.
The puck drops at 2:00 PM EST.
How To Watch:
In Canada (French): RDS
In Canada (English): CBC, Sportsnet
Elsewhere: NHL GameCenter, NHL Center Ice
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Dale Weise|
|Alex Galchenyuk||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Tomas Fleischmann||Lars Eller||Sven Andrighetto|
|Brian Flynn||Torrey Mitchell||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Andrei Markov||P.K. Subban|
|Alexei Emelin||Jeff Petry|
|Mark Barberio||Alexei Emelin|
Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Nathan Beaulieu
Injuries: Carey Price (lower body) Paul Byron (upper body), Daniel Carr (lower body), Lucas Lessio (lower body)
|Taylor Hall||Leon Draisaitl||Teddy Purcell|
|Benoit Pouliot||Connor McDavid||Jordan Eberle|
|Zack Kassian||Mark Letestu||Nail Yakupov|
|Lauri Korpikoski||Matt Hendrucks||Iiro Pakarinen|
|Andrej Sekera||Mark Fayne|
|Darnell Nurse||Justin Schultz|
|Brandon Davidson||Eric Gryba|
Scratched: Griffin Reinhart, Adam Clendening, Anton Lander
Injuries: Oscar Klefbom (finger), Andrew Ference (hip), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand)
Check out the enemy over at Copper & Blue.