After riding high to start the season, the Montreal Canadiens have completely imploded.
As I’ve covered in-depth before, losing Carey Price, questionable coaching decisions and a lack of goals has decimated a squad which once posted an NHL-est 17-4-2 record to lead the NHL.
For a slumping Montreal squad, last night against the Buffalo Sabres was no different.
The Canadiens held a 2-1 lead entering the third period when the Sabres stormed back with three goals in the third to beat them 4-2. The loss, the Canadiens fourth in a row, and ninth in their last 10 games, plummeted Montreal to near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, and the team has gone from Stanley Cup favourites to nearly unwatchable.
Canadiens players were dejected following the matchup.
Dale Weise assured fans that the Canadiens losing wasn’t because a lack of effort, telling the National Post that the club is trying their best.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Weise. “It’s the same thing every game.
“We made a lot of turnovers. There’s no excuse for that. But we’ve got to find a way.”
“We feel bad for them,” said Weise. “We’re laying it on the line out there.
“It’s not from a lack of effort. The fans pay a lot of money to come and watch games and we respect them if they want to boo or not. That’s their prerogative. But we’re trying our best out there.”
Captain Max Pacioretty said the same problems have occurred and he’s running out of things to say.
“I’m running out of things to say,” Montreal captain Max Pacioretty told NHL.com. “It’s the same thing after every game; I’m saying, ‘It’s a complete letdown.'”
The grandaddy quote was from head coach Michel Therrien, who told the media the playoffs is no guarantee.
“We are very aware that it is going to be very hard to make the playoffs,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said.
Canadiens fans are rightfully pissed off, and the team playing so poorly isn’t helping. The Montreal market doesn’t have patience, especially when expectations were so high with the blazing start. The spiral had fans in Montreal trending Auston Matthews on Twitter. The situation doesn’t have an easy fix, as both roster and management have holes. So making a singular move isn’t going to help.
What may help is the return of Price, but recent video showed him struggling to even skate, so the possibility of him returning in two weeks seems like a pipe dream.
The next five to ten games will decide the Canadiens fate. They face the Oilers, Hurricanes and Lightning at home, followed by the Sabres and Coyotes on the road. It’s not elite competition, but a good benchmark to see where the Canadiens are at. Are they going to rebound and challenge for a playoff spot, or should they tank, trade movable assets and restart for next year? We’ll know the direction in a couple weeks.