It’ll be a very interesting remainder of November for the Montreal Canadiens. The boys are in Ottawa now, (Kanata, way to the west of the city, where the rink is), getting ready to take on the dysfunctional Senators.
Then they’re at home Saturday to beat the Bruins, and we all know what this game means. It’s Patrick Roy Sweater To The Rafters Night.
Then the boys sleep in their own beds and wait for the Islanders on Monday.
After that, it’s a two game road trip, when they travel to Detroit next Wednesday, and then swing over to Washington for a Friday game against the Caps.
They then close out the month the following Saturday when the Sabres visit.
What does all this mean?
It means every game will probably be a struggle for our struggling guys. Let’s see – Ottawa, Boston, the Islanders, Detroit, Washington, and the Sabres. How many games will they win here?
Boston and Detroit should be tough ones. The Sabres and Washington will also be no picnic. Montreal seems to play flat in Washington. I went to a game there in the 1980’s with a bunch of guys on a beer-soaked, rented car roadtrip, and the Habs lost 5-0.
And opening game this year in Buffalo, the Habs lost in a shootout and were flat, a sign of things to come.
If all the stars and planets are in alignment, Montreal should kick the Islanders ass.
Which brings us to Thursday night’s game in Ottawa. The Senators have stunk this year. There’s no other way to say it. It’s a team in turmoil, it seems. I don’t know why. They’ve got Alfredsson, Heatley, and Spezza, for goodness sakes. That’s a lot.
But I suppose they’re missing most everything else, although journeyman goalie Alex Auld has been better than expected.
Montreal needs to start in Ottawa, pick up steam, and make their presence felt in all these games mentioned. Their power play needs to explode. They have to quit taking ridiculous penalties, which I blame Guy Carbonneau for. A Stanley Cup contender is a disciplined team.
Alex Kovalev needs to break out. Why does he feel he needs to be pretty on the ice? Pretty doesn’t usually work. Power works. And as Kovalev goes, the team goes. We saw this last year.
Carey Price needs to play at least five of the six remaining November games, preferably all six. The Kostitsyn boys, both of them, have to play like last year, although Andrei has been fairly good. Sergei hasn’t.
The defence has to tighten up. Price faced 48 shots in Carolina. That’s unacceptable.
Also, they’re showing that they’re weak clearing the puck. It can’t be that difficult to shoot the puck out. But other teams have seemed to have figured out how to stop it. Why is that? Carbonneau again, I think.
And I’ll mention it again. Quit taking stupid penalties. It kills momentum. The gunners sit on the bench while the penalty killers work. How can Carbonneau stop this insanity? Start benching those who take bad, ill-timed penaties. Do something.
In my book, the penalty-taking is the biggest killer of all.