As all good things tend to do, our winning streak was snapped by two good dekes in a shoot-out against the Leafs on Saturday night. You’re not going to win every game, but we’re used to it damn it, and that our first defeat in 7 came at the hands of the Laffs is all the more salt in the wound. That said, we took away a loser point and with it squeezed ourselves into another log-jam tying the Sens and Flyers with 79 points after 72 games played respectively. The race truly is on now that everyone has caught up to the Habs with respect to games played, and tonight the Habs will begin the final 10 game stretch that will decide (essentially) whether Montreal plays Pittsburgh, New Jersey, or Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs.
Earlier last week I asked the question, but I’ll repeat it here: Who do you want?
Personally I would prefer the Habs to begin the playoffs on a winning streak. Who they play when they get there is less important. If they can pull of a winning record over their final 10 games I’ll be very confident regardless of their opponent. The team we saw over the course of our last 9 games is a team that can compete with any in the league in a 7 game series. I think they match up well against the Devils and Sabres, although I’m not so sure about the Penguins.
The first step begins tonight against the Sens. Win and we leap frog over them for 5th. Lose and we remain in 7th. The Senators have been incredibly erratic of late. Their 11 game winning streak before the Olympics has been nullified by their 5 game losing streak since. We’re catching them at a low point, but as we’ve seen before, a team facing dark times can be a dangerous opponent. The Habs need to come out early and really try to fire shots, something they struggled to do in the third period against the Leafs. The best way to get on teams with goaltending issues is to fire shots, and let the law of averages kick in. If its good enough for the 50+ shot Red Wings (what a last second goal against Vancouver), then its good enough for us.
Big time game tonight. You thought you were frustrated with Kovy as a Hab? He’s currently riding a 9 game pointless streak. You know he wants to end that vs his old squad. Get those feet moving early and get pucks on the net – those are my keys. If we fall in love with our passes we’ll kill all of our own powerplays, and struggle to generate offense.
Go Habs Go!!!!