You know the drill.
Montreal has an opportunity to pick up 2 points tonight against an opponent who has struggled mightily this season. A team that loses 2 for every 1 it wins. Slam dunk right?
Hardly. The Isles have gone 4-1-2 in their last 7 games and have started to play more like the team that some expected to be a surprise player for the final playoff spot in the east going into this season. That pipe dream is all but over, and yet there are many reasons to fear this game for Habs fans.
How about the fact that Montreal is 4-5-6 at home this season?
How about the fact that Montreal has the powerplay confidence of a 9th grader with acne?
How about the fact that Montreal hasn’t won two games in a row since Pierre McGuire had dreadlocks?
Ok, I’m making this garbage up. Sue me – its a long season.
Still, Montreal has drastically under-performed against the bottom feeding teams this season. They have been terrible lately at playing with a lead. The win which had everyone feeling good about the Tomas Kaberle trade was almost another blown lead. Only by the grace of Carey Price’s left leg, and Zach Parise’s temporary lapse in penalty shots skills did the Habs manage to hold onto a rare win in regulation.
UPDATE: JM in his infinite wisdom has apparently decided that the one bright spot from the last few weeks Alexei Emelin shall sit in favour of Raphael Diaz now that Chris Campoli has been cleared to come back to the lineup.
For the life of me I can’t think of a single reason why a coach would want Raphael Diaz in the lineup over Alexei Emelin. I could understand if it were Markov who was returning, but there is next to nothing that Diaz can do that isn’t replicated 5 other times amongst the defense corps. Nobody on the team provides the physicality that Emelin does. Frankly, there is only 1 single NHL defenseman who averages more hits per game than Emelin this season. And while hits do not tell a full story about a defender’s game, I do not understand why a coach would go from giving him increased responsibilities in all areas to the pressbox – in favour of yet another undersized, and outmatched defender.
At every turn this season I’m dumbfounded by the decision making that the Habs management has made in terms of personnel. Martin seems determined to display that he has no idea what his team’s problems are. I can tell you now – a lack of undersized, offensively adequate, defensively outmatched defenders is not his problem.
Go Habs Go!!