When Tomas Tatar took the Nick Suzuki pass and fired it into the net, it not only tied the game, it assured the Canadiens of a point — assuming nothing crazy happened in the final minute — in a game they were flat in throughout.
They ended up getting two.
Being flat happens in an 82-game season. Especially in front of a quieter-than-normal home crowd (the first snowstorm of the year and a early-week matchup against a team with which the fan base has relative indifference isn’t a great combination.)
What stood out in this game, and has stood out for most of the last week is that the Canadiens are earning points they don’t necessarily deserve. And deserve has nothing to do with it. Montreal probably deserved to make the playoffs a year ago but they didn’t.
We have seen games like the win against the Boston Bruins last Tuesday in the past where the Coyle goal counted, and Montreal walked away with no points. Or Ben Chiarot doesn’t score, and Boston wins in extra time. They walked away with a regulation win. Carey Price willed his team to a point against the Philadelphia Flyers. Montreal sleepwalked for the final 40 minutes after opening up a 3-0 lead against the Los Angeles Kings. Then there was Tuesday night against Columbus.
Four games. Seven points out of a possible eight. While not playing their best hockey. Games in November don’t often get remembered for salvaging points, but they count just the same.
Last season, the Canadiens were 7-22-0 (24.1% points percentage) when trailing after two periods. This season, they are at 2-4-2 (37.5% points percentage).
A year ago, the Canadiens missed the playoffs by two points (technically three if you consider they didn’t have the tiebreaker). If you consider the Philadelphia comeback, and the win on Tuesday, there’s three points right there.
There will surely be games where the Canadiens fail to show up and lose in regulation, and there will be surely be games where the Canadiens blow the opportunity to walk away with points.
A year from now, you may not remember games like they had this week just like you may not remember similar games from a year ago. People tend to remember the lost opportunities — loss aversion is real.
But points earned cannot be taken away from you and the Canadiens are doing a good job of collecting them early.