An entire NHL season is plenty long to have your ups and downs as a team and individual players as well. With a tight race in the Eastern Conference, there’s room to move about the leaderboard. That being said, the Montreal Canadiens still might have a chance to be in the playoff picture this season. There are only a few problems.
Montreal is currently on a 5-20-1 game skid after starting the season 19-4-3. They have 20 losses in the past 26 games. The team has been without what was their league leading goaltender, Carey Price, since November 25th after suffering a lower body injury. Recently, he was seen skating without any pads at Montreal’s Practice Facility, but looked far from ready to play. He took it easy skating medium speed around the rink. Price is said to return in two weeks but I think he might have at least a month before he attempts to come back to 100 percent in goal.
This would leave the Canadiens with even less time to bring the season back out of the hole that they are in. The Canadiens current goalie Mike Condon has a GAA of 2.48 putting him 25th in the league, and has a save percentage of .905 tying him with Cam Ward for 35th. They are currently riding a 4 game losing streak after winning in shootout fashion. For the rest of the season they play Tampa Bay three times, Detroit twice, and back-to-back games against Florida, who is atop the league, in two of the last four games. They have a 12.5% chance to make the playoffs. It will be a long road for Montreal, if they don’t give up in the process.
They look to take on Edmonton and Carolina in back to back games starting tonight. Both of those teams are below them in the standings but the Oilers have their rookie sensation Connor McDavid back from injury that looks like he never stopped. This will be his first game in Montreal as an NHL player. Their team has gone 5-for-6 on the power play since coming back from the All Star break and has scored 12 goals. Edmonton will look to take control of the game with Scrivens in net for Montreal posting a 0-4-0 record and a 3.85 GAA. He was signed after being put on waivers by none other than the Edmonton Oilers. Yet again, the situation is not looking good for a team who is still six points out of the wildcard spot.
So, personally even with Carey Price potentially coming back in two to three weeks, I think longer, they would still need to connect the dots. It seems none of them are on the same page anymore. They are giving the puck away in more opportune times. In essence, they have fallen down a steep hill and will need some serious team work and chemistry to be created in attempt to clinch a playoff birth. It may be in their best interest to allow Price to recover at his own pace and focus on next season.
Cover Photo via Carha Hockey