There is no denying that one of the biggest improvements since Martin St-Louis has taken over is the offensive output of the Canadiens. But in the midst of a four-game losing skid, it is nowhere to be found. During that time, the Habs have scored a grand total of five goals in those four games. They have allowed… 15.
So where are all the goals? Well, for one thing, the game against the Washington Capitals tonight will be the team’s 76th game of the season, which means that there will only be six games remaining to their season. Finding the motivation when games are meaningless cannot be an easy task. Having said that, Geoff Molson is paying them to play 82 games and since they are professional, they must perform as such so it cannot be an excuse.
Earlier this week St-Louis told the press that his players were emotionally drained. They had a bad start to the season. They broke a record (by far) with man-games lost due to injuries and COVID and had to dig deep, very deep, to try competing all year. Because of it, they had to adjust to new partners and linemates all season and at times, they iced what looked more like a AHL team. They went through a managerial change, a coaching change and due to their poor season, they have lost a couple of good friends at trade deadline. It has been an emotionally draining season, no doubt.
This past week, aside perhaps for the game against the Islanders marking the return of Carey Price, the Canadiens looked out of gas. It seems like they reverted back to the old careless defense and the spotty offense and, at times, the effort hasn’t always been there. Eleven players have put up a point or more on the board, led by – you guessed it – Nick Suzuki and his three assists.
We are a month away from the NHL Draft lottery, when we will find out exactly which pick the Canadiens will hold. Prior to the game against Washington, the Habs are sitting 31st in the overall standings, and due to some wacky and illogical calculations, they have much better odds at picking third or fourth than they do selecting the first or second pick. Here are their odds: