I distinctly recall the idea that if the Canadiens can get through the early stages of the season playing .500 hockey with all their injuries involved, then they’re doing fine.
They’re 8-8-1 right now. Not great but it could be worse. They could be the Buffalo Sabres.
Today it’s the Islanders (6 pm EST) with a backup goalie in nets, star left winger Tomas Vanek on the shelf, and star left winger Matt Moulson gone, traded for Vanek.
The Canadiens are now on the playoff spot bubble, in eighth spot in the East with 17 points, with the Islanders just behind with 15. Even someone like Gaston, who blew his brains out smoking gunpowder, should be able to figure out that this is a game the Habs need to win. But Montreal has to score more, has to have guys punch the clock and hit the net much more, and crash and bang and get the Bell Centre walls shaking.
Brian Gionta has four goals in sixteen games. Lars Eller and Rene Bourque five in seventeen, Max has two in eight, DD of course is stalled at zero in sixteen, and although Ryan White isn’t expected to light the lamp or do much offensively, the fact remains he’s zero points in fifteen games.
Alex Galchenyuk, someone we all expect huge things from in future years, is third in team points, but is showing just two goals to go along with his nine assists in seventeen games. But he’s only 19-years old so there’s not much I can say. I just want him to become a superstar as soon as possible, that’s all.
“We’re getting a lot of our shots blocked right now, so that’s a big factor,” says Bourque. Which I think is a feeble excuse. Find a way not to have them blocked. The Canadiens block a lot of shots and other teams manage.
Five straight losses would be dismal, and the red-hot Tampa Bay Lightning are here on Tuesday. It could become six.
It’s an important game, this Islanders clash. Even Gaston knows that.