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Coming Back to Earth

2021-02-15

  With 26 games in the books, the Canadiens could look at their season as glass half empty/half full. In the first 10 games the team was 5-5-0. To put that in perspective, the team was 4-6-0 last season so much of a difference. However, the team won only 13 games last season and have already won 8 this season with another 55 games to go. They are 2nd in the Pk and and 21st in PP in comparison to 31st on the PP and 30th on the PK. Since going 5-5-0 the Canadiens have gone 3-13-1. There are a couple of reasons why this sudden crash happened the first being Anisimov.  He was leading the Canadiens in scoring until his injury sidetracked him. That forced a rookie like Dach to play big minutes sooner than the the club wanted.

    While Dach's first season has been solid, its too much to ask a rookie to play those minutes. Bjugstad could have stepped in but that would have exposed Montreal's lack of depth even more. This brings us to the second point: the lack of depth. Montreal knew an injury to a star would expose what they already knew. The team's depth at center is good so long as they are healthy. The Canadiens depth on defense is solid but the forwards and goal is shaky at best. Elvis' performance early in the season rocked the fans of Montreal but the "backup" band stunk. Crawford was supposed to ease some of the load but he retired. Montreal brought in Howard who finished the season on a strong note after coming over in a trade. A trade was also made to bring Condon in the event of an injury. Another retirement [Howard] and the Canadiens are working on their 3rd backup. Expect a move at free agency to address the issue in the off season.

   The Canadiens do have some bright spots starting with the PK which has gone from 30th to 2nd. The arrival of Shore and Maroon has helped the bottom six unit. The PP has a modest increase to 21st which is due in part to Anisimov. Carr has been a pleasant suprise scoring 8 goals and 14 pts, and Barber's 7 goals and 19 pts leads the team in scoring. Barber was a free agent signing who has benefited with playing time. The defense has seen Seabrook and Miller come in to give the team some grit and depth. Nesterov's 4 goals and 15 pts have a pleasant surprise while Rutta is making the case of a new dal with 2 goals and 12 pts. This may make MacDonald expendable especially when Mete comes up which will be soon.

  If the Canadiens can get back to what made them succesful prior to the Anisimov injury they could potentially be free of the division's basement. They have made a few moves and are probably going to stand pat until deadline day to see how things shake out.