The idea heading into Tuesday’s game was that Montreal needed a win – 2 points – to move on from the horrible loss suffered on Hockey Day in Canada against the Leafs. Well.. They got the 2 points, but does anyone feel comfortable with the way this team has played in the last 5 games? Let’s not forget that Montreal’s afternoon victory on Sunday versus Ottawa, was a game that Montreal had to furiously fight off Ottawa’s attack, and were lucky to have a goal early in the 3rd negated by a phantom goaltender interference call against the Sens.
If you count that game (because honestly – that goal should have counted), Montreal has blown leads in 4 of 5. The one game in which they did not blow a lead, they lost by 6. From that perspective there is no way anyone could be comfortable with the team moving forward.
And yet – if you look at the game without the defensive lapses, and frankly terrible luck resulting in the 2nd and 3rd goals, you have to admit that the Canadiens actually played a heck of a game keeping Tampa to limited chances, and burying theirs when they got them. While the trend of blowing leads is nothing if not alarming, I have to keep reminding myself that this team has had leads to lose, and if they can cut out these crazy short periods where they completely collapse, they’ve still been playing decent hockey. They may have been good enough to beat the Bruins. They were definitely good enough to beat both Buffalo and Tampa. Its not all bad news – even if the mood isn’t sunshine and roses this Valentines Day.