1. Alex Galchenyuk is still a beast.
Might as well attempt to start this off with something positive. Ever since he was drafted, I've always enjoyed discussing what his highest aspiration could be. Based on how he's been playing lately, it is pretty damn hard to put a ceiling on this kid.
He is getting rather beneficial deployment, last night starting over 80% of his shifts in the offensive zone, but he's absolutely killing it. If this is but a snapshot of where he's headed in his career, we very well could be looking at a future 40 goal scorer. You heard it here first.
2. About that whole "Therrien won't get fired" report.
I'm calling shenanigans on that right now. It can't be that his job is totally safe, because for this organization to soldier on into next season with the status quo would be an institutional failure of epic proportions. Personally, the only thing that I think could be worse would be for them to bring back Mario Tremblay and let him run another superstar goaltender out of town.
I'll have to eat my words if I end up being wrong about this, but we'll all have to sit through another season as bad, or maybe even worse than this one.
3. And about this nightmare season of injuries.
The Florida broadcast crew had this super cute moment where they spent several minutes complaining about the Panthers and their injury problems. It was so cute because their problems are nowhere near as extreme as those faced by their opponents last night.
And let's say I'm wrong about takeaway number two, and Michel Therrien's job is safe. If there ever was a case to be made that he shouldn't be fired, it could only be made by aggressively pushing the notion that the injuries are more to blame than he is.
4. Jacob de la Rose finally had himself a good game.
Here's a player that has just been thrown to the wolves in terms of deployment, which has led to some pretty concerning numbers. Last night provided somewhat of a reversal of fortunes for him, albeit over a small sample.
His zone starts are still brutal, starting only 20% of his shifts last night in the offensive zone. No easy task to turn that into positive possession, but he did. When he was on the ice at even strength, the Canadiens controlled 56.52% of shot attempts. They're still not making his life easy, but he made due last night.
5. Phillip Danault? Same thing
He also had some pretty rough deployment, starting only 25% of his shifts in the offensive zone. That isn't as bad as what de la Rose had to deal with, but like him, Danault made due. At even strength, the Habs controlled an even 56% of shot attempts when he was on the ice. Not too shabby.
6. But guess who led the Corsi charge for the Canadiens last night?
Wait for it... Mike Brown. I know, that is both shocking and hilarious. Thing is I checked every stats site that I know about and he did rock 57.9% at even strength, which was the best of any player on the Habs roster. That's either a lucky streak in a small sample - he played under nine minutes - or it's the saddest thing ever.
7. Enough with the stats, let's talk about that crowd for a minute.
By the time the third period started, a significant portion of the Bell centre had emptied out of the building. Clearly they weren't in the mood to watch their team skate another futile 20 minutes.
Stands are like half empty at the start of the third.— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) March 16, 2016
Not long ago I was talking with other members of the EOTP team, and I expressed my opinion that we would never see a Habs fan throw a jersey on the ice. I'm starting to wonder now if I won't be proven wrong about that before this season is over.
I'll never support such a thing, and I really don't ever want to see it happen, but as the frustration continues to mount among the fans, I'm about ready to admit the possibility.
8. What is this team even going to look like next year?
I count 11 players who played last night that weren't a part of the team when the season started, although some of them did come from St. John's. Naturally there are injured players who figure to be part of the team's future, but how different could the lineup really look next year?
I watch Sven Andrighetto, and it seems pretty clear to me that he's ready to play in the NHL permanently. Several other guys look like they might be ready to make that jump as well. Then you add in that the Canadiens are likely to have a high draft pick, and you have to think that next year's starting lineup will be a totally new look.
9. They aren't losing because of goaltending.
Sure, they might actually be in the playoff picture right now if Carey Price was around. That said, with the way the team is playing in front of their goaltenders, a replica of his MVP season would be imperative to that end. Yes, the record is definitely better with the best goaltender in the world manning the nets, but it's not the team's real issue.
Ben Scrivens has had a few questionable starts, but Mike Condon has been mostly solid, and really it's hard to fault either of them for losing games right now.
10. About that tank effort.
Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Jesse Puljujarvi. All three of these players are touted to have the potential to step right into the NHL next season. Montreal's odds of having the first overall pick sit around five percent at the moment. The more they lose, the better their chances get. Even if they don't get the first overall, any one of those three would be massive additions to the club.
The last time they had a pick in the top 10, it netted them Alex Galchenyuk. This year it looks like they'll get another shot at that, and here's to hoping that tank gets them another gem.