The World Junior Hockey Championship may have been cancelled, but the NHL lives, at least for the moment. In the unfortunate event that the season were to end before the Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes locked horns on Thursday, the former would certainly be exempt from any playoff format, while the latter would be one of the top seeds. Few would expect a Habs win, particularly given their decimation at the hands of injuries and the COVID protocol.
Welcome to your Bottom Six Minutes, in which I’ll discuss precisely what was expected.
The Hurricanes won this game through their special teams, with a short-handed goal and three on the power play. As understandable as it is that the team is losing with all of their absences, special teams have been a weakness for them even at their healthiest. I’m not going to get too much into firing coaches in this episode, but it must be mentioned that they have done nothing to improve on the special teams front this season.
And the absences stand to get worse, as Brendan Gallagher left that game and is now day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The coaching staff will need to figure out some way to make their special teams passable, unless they want to be completely embarrassed in their next outing. Nobody is expecting perfection with their injury problems, but we can at least expect more than we saw on Thursday night.
Your silver lining of the night is that Samuel Montembeault had arguably his best game in a Habs uniform. He made some excellent saves, and if there is no life to be found in the special teams in front of him, he could be the key to not getting embarrassed on Saturday.
Click the play button below for my full thoughts, and we will be back with another episode after that afternoon game this weekend against the scary-looking Florida Panthers.