So, Are The Habs Officially Done?
Earlier this evening, as the game between the New Jersey Devils and Montreal Canadiens was just getting under way, I joined Leigh-Anne Power on CJAD's "The Locker Room" with Abe Hefter.
One of the questions was whether or not the Habs still had a chance for the playoffs. Leigh-Anne was a certain no, while I remained optimistic, given the team's recent fortune and a series of upcoming games which they can compete against and steal some points.
Well folks, the optimism level came crashing down with Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Devils. A lack of shots on goal, especially in the first period, coupled with three Devils goals that were redirected and/or screened and the typical Montreal appearance of Martin Brodeur all factored in to the loss.
We know it was bad when Ryan White had five hits, and the Canadiens only had six shots on goal.
It didn't help Montreal's case either that the Devils blocked 33 shots for their goaltender or that Randy Cunneyworth's shutdown trio was on the ice for all three Devils goals. Looking at their Corsi numbers, Tomas Plekanec, Rene Bourque and Mathieu Darche were the three worst forwards on the Habs.
Oh and another note for RC, long passes don't work against the Devils defense. They haven't in nearly 20 years!
There were a few bright spots, however. Despite napping on the Zach Parise goal off the draw, P.K. Subban racked up over 26 minutes on the ice and was a +10 Corsi. The Canadiens stayed out of the penalty box and they scored on the power play too!
As I mentioned on the show, the Canadiens have to give 100 percent game in game out at this point. I don't think we're going to see it now. If Erik Cole's body is wearing down from injuries, we can out right forget it.
The Canadiens have three games left before the trade deadline. Had there been a win Sunday, we probably don't see much in terms of a sale by Pierre Gauthier in the next seven days. Chances are we will now and Andrei Kostitsyn, Travis Moen, Chris Campoli and maybe Yannick Weber will be the first to be shopped. I'd suspect Gauthier will go for the best value for AK46, possibly leaving it for the best deal on the table a the 11th hour.
At the same time, shut down Andrei Markov for the season, and wait till next year. But keep Louis Leblanc up to gain the experience, which he is quickly learning from.
While he's at it, Gauthier should sign Zack Fitzgerald from Hamilton, so the fans have something to be entertained by. According to HNIC polls, fans want fighting to stay and are were 47/53 on the instigator rule.
So who do we want in the first round?
Before the game, the Habs did it as only they can by honoring the late Gary Carter.
Three Stars: 1. Martin Brodeur 2. Zach Parise 3. Max Pacioretty
Advanced Stats: Shift Charts / Head to Head / Corsi & Fenwick
Olivier's breakdown, a Jacques Martin/Jacques Lemaire defensive dream for scoring chances against..
Game reaction on the Jersey Shore from In Lou We Trust
Hal Gill played 16:23 (no time on penalty kills) and was +2 in his debut with the Nashville Predators. Meanwhile Blake Geoffrion picked up two more assists in the Hamilton Bulldogs 7-3 win over the Rochester Americans.
Poor Pat Hickey auditions for a MedicAlert commercial, trying to get a sound byte from Josh Gorges