Montreal Canadiens Affiliate Distance Themselves From Playoffs With Brutal Weekend

Syracuse Crunch v Laval Rocket - Game Three
Syracuse Crunch v Laval Rocket - Game Three / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Montreal Canadiens have now lost five consecutive games and are further from the playoff picture than they have been at any point this season.

While they hung around the postseason cutoff line longer than most anticipated, reality is finally starting to sink in and they are dropping like a stone in the standings.

The Canadiens top affiliate, the Laval Rocket, saw their playoff chances take a hit this weekend as well. While they have not lost five in a row like the Canadiens, they do only have one win in their past five after a couple of lopsided losses to the Toronto Marlies.

The Rocket certainly had their chances to win on Friday night. A penalty filled night saw them go to the man advantage an incredible nine times, but they only found the back of the net once. Joseph Woll was in goal for the Marlies and he turned aside 36 shots in the win.

Still, the game was tied entering the third period until the Marlies scored a pair of power play goals to pull ahead and then sealed it with an empty netter. The Rocket had a chance for redemption the following afternoon, but fell behind early and could not recover.

The Marlies had extended their lead to 4-0 before the midpoint of the second period, and Kasimir Kaskisuo was pulled after facing 23 shots in just 29 minutes of action. Jakub Dobes replaced him but the Rocket could not turn the tide and lost 5-1. Getting outscored 9-2 against a rival with both games on home ice is far from an ideal scenario.

It also sees the Rocket being pushed further from a playoff spot when they had a chance to jump into the mix in the North Division.

Five teams make the playoffs in the division and the Rocket now sit sixth, but are five points back of the Rochester Americans for the final playoff spot. There is still plenty of hockey left to be played, but the Rocket got themselves off to a brutal start and don't have much margin for error remaining.

They began the year on an awful 1-6-1 run and then had a record of 5-12-5 after 22 games. They did pick things up from there, thanks to solid goaltending from Dobes, and went 16-7-1 in their next 24 games.

Now, they have won just once in their past five and are falling behind the clustered pack in the division yet again. They have gone 4-5-1 in February and will need a better month of March to be in the playoff hunt during the final few games in April.