Montreal Canadiens: The Glass Is Half Full

Nov 6, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 6, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

With a dismal 3-10-1 record to start the season, the Montreal Canadiens are still trying to turn their season around. Some say it’s already too late, but I’m talking glass half full here.

The St. Louis Blues were dead last in the NHL on January 2nd three seasons ago, before going on a 30-10-5 run to make the playoffs and eventually win it all. We may never again see that kind of run, but I think this year’s Habs are better than its current record.

Since the start of the season, there are at least 4 games, including Tuesday’s OT loss against the L.A. Kings, the Canadiens played well enough to win.

The opening game of the season against the Leafs in Toronto, who were hungry to avenge their embarrassing Game 7 loss to the Habs from 3 months previous, was an exciting back and forth game. The Leafs prevailed but the outcome was in doubt until the final buzzer.

At home against the Rangers 3 days later, they faced a hot goaltender in Igor Shesterkin. One goal against deflected in past Jake Allen off Alex Romanov’s skate. The Rangers won the game but it wasn’t sealed until an empty netter put it out of reach with 10 seconds left.

Against the Golden Knights last Saturday the Canadiens dominated the ailing Knights for much of the game. A tough 7 minute stretch in the 2nd period in which they surrendered two power plays goals undid a 2-0 Canadiens lead. Two empty net goals, late in the 3rd period closed this one out.

Tuesday against the Kings provided another snapshot of the Canadiens season thus far: a couple of costly defensive mistakes, and another second period letdown, combined with a lack of team scoring undermine a lot of hard work. The Habs have only scored more than 2 goals in a game 3 times this season, and have 3 victories to show for it.

There are bright spots on this team. Nick Suzuki, Tyler Toffoli, and Mike Hoffman are 3 legitimate scorers who will start to find the back of the net more often.  Josh Anderson seems a threat to score every time he’s on the ice. Jonathan Drouin is playing his best hockey in a Habs uniform this year. Jake Allen has 2 shutouts this season. His losing record is purely the result of the lack of goal support from his team. Alex Romanov is taking a step forward with added responsibility while leading the team in hits.

Joel Edmundson will return from injury and make the team tougher to play against in the absence of Shea Weber. Carey Price’s presence, even in the locker room, is reason for optimism. Brendan Gallagher will never stop trying like every game is the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Canadiens will stop finding ways to beat themselves, and instead find ways to win some hockey games.

Glass half full. This team will start to string wins together. While they may not duplicate what the St. Louis Blues did a few years ago, they are going to start winning games soon.

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