It would be a lot easier to cheer for the Habs to lose for a better draft pick if the rest of the teams fighting for the playoffs in the East were playing well. In the last 10 games:
Ottawa – 6 of 20 points
Toronto – 11 of 20 points
Washington – 9 of 20 points
Winnipeg – 8 of 20 points
NYI – 10 of 20 points
Montreal – 12 of 20 points.
No one is exactly lighting it up. So while Montreal suffered what should by all rights be a kill-shot to their playoff chances when they blew yet another 3rd period lead to lose to the Hurricanes, they are still hovering around the same level as the other floundering Eastern Conference teams. While I have no real opinion that the Habs could jump over the teams above them, they certainly haven’t been mathematically eliminated, which as I’ve noted before – makes me nervous as to what the “plan” will be.
93 points was an arbitrary number which has been thrown around as a cut off for what it will take to make the playoffs. That could be, but NONE of the teams from Ottawa through Montreal are currently on pace (when you average their season winning percentage with that of the past 10 games) to make that mark. Obviously someone could get hot to surpass that number, but we could very well see a team make the playoffs this year with a sub-90 point total. In 2009-10 that was exactly the case when Philadelphia AND Montreal made the post season with 88 points. All of the teams around MTL have averaged between 0.9 and 1.1 points per game this season. Even if all teams matched the high end of that total, only Ottawa would break 90 points. So how many would Montreal need to gain to get to 90? 1.4 points per game played. 35 of 50 points.
Its a tough task – but certainly not impossible. The Rangers have played this whole season above that mark, and while I’m in no way implying that the Habs are anywhere near capable of that over the full season, over the course of 25 games – many teams are capable of getting to that level. Playing slightly better than they have over the last 10 games would get the team to that point. Obviously this is a very unscientific approach to this problem. Any team above them could match this point total over their final 25 games or so and make all of this irrelevant. Montreal could gain nowhere near 1.4 per game and make this whole post moot.
Still, the play of those teams above the Habs over the past 10 games have left the door slightly open.
Bruins tonight. It will be very interesting to see the lineup after word leaked from practice yesterday that there was a heated exchange between Cunneyworth and Gomez regarding the later’s effort. Ryan White will be back in the lineup – which will at least give the home crowd something to feel good about regardless of the result tonight.
Go Habs Go!!!