Tonight, there is one game on tap for the NHL. The Detroit Red Wings, sitting in first in the West with 67 points in 49 games played, are facing the Canadiens at the Bell Centre tonight. The puck drops at 7:30pm.
While most of the focus in Montreal right now is the ongoing Subban-Ladouceur saga, the bad news is that all of the teams that the Canadiens are battling for a spot in the playoffs got at least a point last night. This leaves the Canadiens stuck at 10 points behind 8th. Notably, the Leafs, New Jersey and Florida are all tied at 55 points for spots 6,7,and 8. Behind them are the Jets and Lightning. The Canadiens paltry 45 points leave them in a four-way tie with the Islanders, Sabres and Hurricanes for spots 12,13,14 and 15.
The keys to winning tonight’s game will be no surprise. First, the Canadiens will require another stellar performance from Carey Price. They will require the regular effort from the Desharnais-Cole-Pacioretty line. But most importantly, they will need everyone else to step up. The Red Wings are not the Maple Leafs. They need their big guns, who have had quiet seasons, to step up if they believe that they can make the playoffs. They won’t make it without a full effort from guys like Plekanec, Subban, Gomez, and Gill. It will be tough, no bones about it, but they will need a complete buy in from this team if they want to set up a two game winning streak.
I say the Canadiens pull it off somehow and win 3-2, on the back of an absolutely stellar night from Carey Price. This team has an odd tendency to play their best games when everyone expects them to roll over and wave the white flag against a much better team. Goals go to Erik Cole [not such a risk I suppose], P.K. Subban [on the powerplay] and Scott Gomez [!!!].
For your entirely unrelated viewing pleasure. The Lightning mascot, apparently named ThunderBug, had an altercation with a Bruins fan. The mascot sprayed the fan with silly string, and the fan responded with trying to rough up the mascot. Interesting, the mascot is actually a female and has since lost her job. Here’s a short vid of the amusing sequence. Bruins Fan Attacks Mascot. There is also a longer video on the Puck Daddy blog.