“It’s right there for us,” Johnny Gaudreau said after scoring two goals in a North Division playoff race 5-2 win Saturday over the visiting Montreal Canadiens. Now just four points behind, the Flames will play the Canadiens again on Monday and if they win, Montreal is in real jeopardy of losing that fourth and final spot in an up-for-grabs North Division. And, it’s not just the Flames Montreal has to worry about. Montreal is only 10 points up on the Vancouver Canucks, who happen to have five games in hand.
“If we take care of ourselves, and we keep playing the way we’ve been playing the past few games, I think we’ve got a real good shot to make a push here,” Gaudreau added. He’s right, and while Calgary does what they can to gain ground, the Canadiens need to get their game figured out.
Scoring goals has been a big problem for the Habs since Brendan Gallagher went down with an injury. The Canadiens have 3-8-0 record and have scored two goals or less in nine of those 11 games. The team bet everything they had on this season. GM Marc Bergevin said he likes his team, but he can’t be liking what he’s seeing as their playoff hopes potentially slip away. The worst part is, they have a potential goal scorer sitting in the press box watching, but salary cap issues make it nearly impossible to get Cole Caufield in the lineup to spark this team.
Not making the playoffs would be a disaster for an organization that went big time shopping this past offseason and went 7-1-2 start to start the season. This is not the dominant club everyone expected to see when names like Joel Edmundson, Jake Allen, Tyler Toffoli, and Josh Anderson were added to the fold.
Still, this team is committed and they’ll have to make it work with the roster as assembled.
Canadiens Control Their Own Destiny
The Montreal Canadiens are in control of their own fate. A couple of wins in their next few games changes the conversation and will put everyone at ease… at least for a while. Still, this team feels like it’s reeling. They need to pull it together, put the Flames and Canucks in their rearview mirror and mentally get themselves ready. The only way to do that is to win.
Unfortunately, as the Canadiens are learning, that’s easier said than done these days.
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