It’s sad, really. This rollercoaster ride that the Montreal Canadiens have put their fans through in the past few months is one of the steepest descent in the business. I bet if we look closely, we’ll find someone’s toupet and false teeth stuck in the rails somewhere in between! How do you go from Stanley Cup finalists to the very bottom in the standings of the NHL? We all know about the injuries, about COVID, about the few roster changes. But shouldn’t this team be able to win a few games here and there?
Canadiens’ President Geoff Molson fired his VP of Hockey Ops and General Manager, Marc Bergevin, on November 28th and announced Jeff Gorton as the new Vice-President of Hockey Operations. At the time, the Habs had a 6-15-2 record in 23 games. That wasn’t good. Since the management changed, the team has played 13 games and has won only one of them, going 1-9-3 during that stretch. Now in mid-January, we are still waiting for a new GM to be announced, by the way.
Troubles on the road
With a 2-14-4 record (8 points, .200 Pts%), the Habs have the NHL’s worst road record. The teams just ahead of them have twice the number of road wins with four each, all in fewer games played. You have read that right, even Seattle and Arizona have won twice as many games on the road, in fewer games.
The Canadiens have scored 2.1 goals per game on the road (29th) and allow 4 goals per game (2nd most). Their power play (if we can call it that) is dead last with a… 6.3% success rate! In fact, Mike Hoffman’s power play goal last night in Chicago was the team’s fourth (4) on the road this season. And have allowed three (3) goals on the road with the man-advantage! Their penalty kill is 27th away from the Bell Centre. They allow the most shots per game (37) and they are 28th in faceoffs’ percentage, away from home.
After their loss last night, the team is enjoying a 3-days rest before returning… on the road. They received good news though as Paul Byron has been cleared to return to play, he who has yet to suit up on a game this season after he had hip surgery in the off-season.
The Canadiens are scheduled to play five games in eight days, starting Monday in Arizona against the Coyotes for a battle of mediocrity. Here’s their schedule in that stretch:
- Mon. Jan. 17: Arizona Coyotes (8-23-3, 19 Pts) 4:00 PM ET
- Tue. Jan. 18: Dallas Stars (18-13-2, 38 Pts) 8:30 PM ET
- Thu. Jan. 20: Vegas Golden Knights (23-14-2, 48 Pts) 10:00 PM ET
- Sat. Jan. 22: Colorado Avalanche (22-8-3, 47 Pts) 7:00 PM ET
- Mon. Jan. 24: Minnesota Wild (21-10-2, 44 Pts) 8:00 PM ET
After the Arizona game, the next four teams have a 84-37-9 combined record. Fair to say that they have better odds of winning one in Arizona? “Y’en n’aura pas d’faciles“, as Claude “Piton” Ruel would say.