Last night’s loss against the Carolina Hurricanes leaves the Canadiens with only a single point lead over Atlanta in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Canadiens weren’t favored to beat the first place Hurricanes but the loss combined with Boston, Atlanta and New Jersey winning was the worst possible outcome. The Canadiens have ‘winnable’ games coming up against the Penguins and Capitals to try and re-establish the gap. The real test will be the Islanders game and the back to back home games against the Leafs. The Leafs can crawl right back in and maybe over the Canadiens with a couple wins or the Habs can really crush their chances if they take 3 or more points. The atmosphere for those games should be fantastic.
David Aebischer‘s debut was spoiled. Despite very solid goaltending the Hurricanes showed what a great team does by converting their chances late and running up the score. The Canadiens managed to compete for much of the game but a flukey first goal gave the Canes the lead and they took advantage of every Habs mistake after that.
Justin Williams has 24 goals? That’s more than any 1 member of the Canadiens does. Carolina took over 1st place overall with the win over the Habs and won the season series 4-0. They look a lot like Tampa 2 years ago when they were ruling the East on the way to the Cup – but even more dangerous.
Stick with Aebischer or go back to Huet? The sooner Aebischer gets a win under his belt the better and the Penguins are giving them away for free these days. Although Sidney Crosby might have something to prove in Montreal.