Canadiens Morale Remains High Despite Recent Skid

Buffalo Sabres v Montreal Canadiens
Buffalo Sabres v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

There’s no question the Montreal Canadiens haven’t gotten the results they feel worthy of, as of late, but they have continued to push forward.

Currently on a five-game losing streak, the team has played inspired hockey. Despite that, they have shot themselves in the foot with brainfart penalties and turnovers. It would be easy to get down on themselves and grip the sticks too tight.

But that hasn’t been the case, even though with each passing loss, the Habs playoff hopes dwindle further and further away. This could result in players losing interest. Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki, 24, has been a model of consistency and he assured fans that the Habs hatred to lose hasn’t changed. 

Although the team is rebuilding and many fans hope for competitive games, where the Habs lose, the players don’t feel the same. The culture that is being established isn’t built on tanking, no matter the consolation prize - Macklin Celebrini. The latest decision that has been questioned is Martin St. Louis’s decision to start Samuel Montembeault on Tuesday night against the Arizona Coyotes. 

The Coyotes are in the midst of a 12-game losing streak. And in the interest of draft rankings, the Coyotes sit just one point behind the Canadiens ahead of the duel. When considering the draft implications, the Canadiens would be leapfrogged in the standing with a loss.

As Eric Engels mentioned, the Coyotes also have a game in hand on the Habs. So a loss would slot Montreal at 28th place overall in the National Hockey League standings. None of that matters to Suzuki or the rest of the team, ending the streak is their main focus. 

It’s not a surprise that professional athletes don’t want to lose. And I agree that any chance at Macklin Celebrini is hard to pass on. But it’s easy to say that from the outside looking in; Montreal would love to draft Celebrini, but not at the expense of damaging what the organization has worked so hard to build. 

For the Canadiens, the Coyotes are likely the weakest opponent on their schedule to finish off the season. The strength of the schedule doesn’t favour the team unless they can turn things around. So the likelihood of a top-five finish for the draft in June remains likely.

But the sole focus is on getting back in the win column. For the fans, all we can wish for is a team that is competitive and detests losing games. And that is exactly what we’ve got, so trusting management's plan will go a long for the fanbase. 

The players battle each night buying into what management is doing; for that reason, I believe that the team is headed in the right direction.