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In search of a new identity

This isn’t the same Canadiens teams as the one that went to the Stanley Cup Final. But what kind of team is it?

Montreal Canadiens v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

I once sat in a sullen change room after a difficult loss. The captain spoke up and said, “Well boys, we’re not much of a defensive team.” Then one of the assistants added, “We’re not much of an offensive team, either.” At that point the team clown quipped, “As a matter of fact, I’m not sure that we’re much of a team.”

My point is to say, a team needs an identity. The Montreal Canadiens had a fearsome identity during the playoffs as a team that protected the front of the net at all costs. Considering that last night Montreal allowed 25 scoring chances and nine high-danger shot attempts against, I would say that defensively they leave something to be desired.

Offensively the Habs only managed 20 scoring chances and controlled an abysmal 37% of the expected goals.

Losing by four goals can rarely be pinned on one player, and last night was no different. Samuel Montembeault played about as well as could be expected for a third-string goalie. Far from perfect, but under circumstances that were far from perfect.

I’m not hitting the panic button yet, but, I think I speak for all fans of this team when I say a 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres has a sting to it. There is no scapegoat. From coaches to players, this team simply has to be better than Buffalo.

Hopefully George Patton was right when he said, “Success is how high you bounce after hitting the bottom.” I’m pretty sure most people are predicting the Sabres to be the bottom in the most literal sense of the word, so there’s nowhere to go now but up.