The Montreal Canadiens were facing adversity, and beat it
Montreal was facing two games they had to win. They did.
The Montreal Canadiens were returning home with a four-game losing streak that saw them go from a comfortable playoff position to barely holding on. Next up were two teams they will be battling with for the remainder of the season. Simply put, they were the two most important games of the season so far.
And they won both, in regulation.
Now don’t get me wrong, there will be many “most important games of the season” among the remaining 21 but you have to pass each test as it comes and the Canadiens did that.
Their start in both games proved they weren’t going to sit back, and while they had some hiccups against Columbus, they had no such trouble with the Flyers.
They are now 10 points up on the Flyers. Had they lost, the gap would be six. As the Canadiens keep winning, the number of teams they are competing with will drop. They are now ahead of Columbus (who are also fighting for an automatic berth in the Metropolitan with the Hurricanes and Penguins).
The Canadiens were facing their first real slump of the season ahead of two games against direct playoff competition but they snapped out of it just in time. This bodes well for a team that has fought hard all season long.
Every team will slump during a season, but it’s about avoiding prolonged slumps and how you respond.
Montreal has another big game on Saturday in Toronto and then back-to-back games against New Jersey and Detroit. They also have their infamous Western California trip in March. That trip is perhaps not as daunting as in year’s past but it’s nonetheless a challenge.
The trade deadline is approaching, and Marc Bergevin is surely looking for ways to improve his team. If the Habs general manager was on the fence about whether to improve his roster this season (without sacrificing the future like he has said), his team gave him one more go-ahead.