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The Habs played great Thursday, but the margin of error remains thin

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Habs’ offence avenges last week’s loss to the Islanders with 4-0 home win.

NHL: New York Islanders at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Canadiens’ power play scored. Jonathan Drouin got a goal and an assist. The forwards all forechecked and backchecked, keeping the Islanders off the puck. Fourth-liner Nate Thompson had his best game as a Montreal Canadien, and got an assist for his troubles. Carey Price was, well, Carey Price.

So much went right for the Canadiens Thursday night as they defeated the New York Islanders 4-0, making up for a loss in New York a week earlier. Adding to that, the Columbus Blue Jackets lost to the Edmonton Oilers. So, if you’re reading this, the Canadiens are back in a playoff spot.

Now, to go out and do it again. And again.

There isn’t much time for Drouin to enjoy having the pressure lifted off him for a night. It doesn’t matter that Drouin had a two-point outing while being the least-used forward on the ice (Artturi Lehkonen led all Canadiens in ice-time with 18:18, and 3:30 on the penalty kill).

The Canadiens achieved a conversion rate of 50 per cent on the power play Thursday, but they still own the league’s worst power plays at 11.9%. A broken clock is right twice a day.

Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian were extremely helpful to the Canadiens, putting Montreal very much in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race. But the Habs still need to maintain their focus, as any slip-up could be costly — or at least will bring cause for fans to push the panic button again. (If you’re somehow still thinking it, it’s way too late to turn the ship around.)

This all may seem negative, but the Canadiens are in no position to rest on whatever laurels they’ve earned since the beginning of the year. This all goes away if they fail to pick up points in an important back-to-back against Buffalo and Carolina this weekend.

If you’re a fan of the team, it’s okay to expect a similar performance over and over again. The Canadiens’ current playoff standing doesn’t allow too much room for anything else.