In Montreal Canadiens news, the Habs are out of a playoff spot with American Thanksgiving just around the corner. They lost all three games last week at home and did not look good. While it is still technically possible that this team could limp into the playoffs, it seems unlikely. Dark days have descended in Montreal.
Montreal Canadiens News and Notes November 20
Scores and News
On Tuesday, the Habs dropped a 2-1 loss in overtime against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
In a game that seemed to sum up the season so far, the Habs blew three leads in the game and allowed the Arizona Coyotes to come back to win 5-4.
The Montreal Canadiens gave the Arizona Coyotes their first regulation win of the season, and there's no way you can say that wasn't their worst game played so far #Habs #GoHabsGo https://t.co/fN4TeN9W64
— A Winning Habit (@FSAWinningHabit) November 17, 2017
After that embarrassing loss, the Canadiens went on to get blown out 6-0 by their rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ya, that hurt.
6-0 final. That was pretty fun, no @LWOS_Habs?
— Last Word on Leafs (@LWOS_Leafs) November 19, 2017
Players and Injuries
LWOH’s own, Aaron Wrotkowski believes center Phillip Danault belongs in the Habs top six. Pulled from a productive third line center role to the top line with Max Pacioretty and Alex Radulov, his production stayed relatively constant. Despite a disappointing display in the playoffs last year, he nonetheless emerged last season as a young productive and defensively responsible center.
Goaltending injuries continue to plague the Habs. Carey Price and Al Montoya are both out. To assist Charlie Lindgren, the Canadiens claimed Antti Niemi. His statistics are a tire fire this season. With a measly .814 save percentage and 6.74 goals against average, the Habs claimed him as an insurance policy. In addition to injuries on the blue line and in net, Habs forward Artturi Lehkonen is out with an injury as Montreal Canadiens woes continue.
Rebuild, Reset, or Retool?
TSN 690’s Joey Alfieri believes it may be time for the Canadiens to start the rebuild. He points out, the 2017-18 season isn’t even two months old, and the Canadiens already find themselves at a crossroads. In order to become one of the elite teams in the NHL, the Canadiens may have to take a step back over the next couple of years.
Other also believe Montreal is heading for a rebuild. “There’s a sense that there might be a meeting of the minds between ownership and [general manager] Marc Bergevin and that this core group is not good enough to build around moving forward,” Kypreos said on Hockey Night in Canada during Saturday’s Headlines segment.
Rebuilding may not be enough. In an era of titles or transition, teams are either in the hunt for the Cup or in the process of remaking their team. While the Canadiens may yet make the playoffs, they aren’t winning a Cup anytime soon. It is time to rebuild the organization and rethink the team. As an interim measure, perhaps hiring Youppi! should be considered. How could it get any worse?
P.K. Subban: Gone but not Forgotten
With a game against the Predators this week, the first of what will be more than a few articles on P.K. Subban appeared this weekend in the Montreal Gazette. It has been 16 months since No. 76 was traded to the Predators. It is clear P.K., fans, and Montreal hasn’t gotten over the trade.
Predictions and Previews
Teams that are four points out or worse past November 1 have a poor record when it comes to rebounding from bad starts to make the playoffs. For Habs going to cling some (any!) good news, other teams have been in similar situations in the last few years and gone on to find success… even win the Stanley Cup!
Games this Week
The Habs are on the road to face Jamie Benn and the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, November 21. Game time is 8:30 EST.
On Wednesday, the Canadiens travel to Nashville on Wednesday to face P.K. Subban and the Nashville Predators. Game time is 8:00 EST.
Th Habs return home on Saturday to face Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres for the third time this season. Game time is 7:00 EST.