The Montreal Canadiens are off to a decent start to their season. They are 7-5-2 which has them on pace to be dangerously close to where they finished last season. These three players need to step up now and be difference makers.
The Montreal Canadiens are off to an up and down start that is nervously similar to last season. They are currently 7-5-2 after a three game road trip that saw them win two games on back to back nights before falling to the Dallas Stars thanks to a poor effort from their skaters in Texas.
This has them on pace right now to finish the season with 94 points. That is reminiscent of last season when the Canadiens ended up securing 96 points in the regular season but narrowly missed out on the playoffs. They sit ninth in the eastern conference right now which is exactly where they were when the playoffs began a year ago.
Getting 94 or 96 points isn’t easy and is nothing to be disappointed with. It’s a slow season but it wasn’t good enough to reach the ultimate goal of the playoffs last spring and it likely won’t be quite enough to get there in 2020.
What can the Canadiens do between now and April to ensure they play just a tad better and qualify for the postseason? Well, there are a few players that they have been counting on for offence that haven’t been living up to expectations. There are a few defenders who could be asked to be just a little more consistent, or bring just a bit more offensively, or be a smidge better in their own zone.
That’s all it takes to make a 96 point team from a year ago a 99 or 100 point team this season. That would be the difference between watching the first round of the playoffs and battling every second night to try and advance to the second round.
So, who are these players that could be better this season? Let’s take a look at the three players who need to step their game up to ensure the Habs don’t just miss another postseason.