Fearless prediction: If your Montreal Canadiens play like this in Toronto on Saturday night, they will get smoked.
And if this is what they bring to the playoffs … well, it just doesn’t bear thinking about.
Of course, the lineup we saw in Ottawa won’t be intact for the postseason.
Carey Price will be back in nets – probably in Toronto, certainly next week.
Yannick Weber will be in the pressbox.
We know who the first four defencemen will be, and the third pairing likely will be Jaro Spacek, who was decent in his first game back, and Paul Mara.
Shall we accentuate the positive?
• While the Rangers were losing, the Canadiens got a point.
• David Desharnais made some slick plays.
• Jacques Martin was able to distribute ice time among his four lines.
But old geezer Roman Hamrlik – who, with benefit of 20/20 hindsight, maybe should have been rested … and maybe will be in Toronto – still played more than 21 minutes and was on for Flip Kuba’s winning goal.
• The two top lines played well. Andrei Kostitsyn had six shots on goal, three hits and made a brilliant pass to set up Mike Cammalleri for the goal that salvaged a point the Canadiens didn’t deserve. Scott Gomez cussed out Chris Neil and made good plays for his linemates.
That’s it for highlights.
• The team played with zero intensity. That’s understandable after the emotional win over Chicago. Let’s see what they bring to the ACC.
• A five-minute power play produced one shot on goal. The Tomas Plekanec and Scott Gomez waves each had two cracks, and the PP ended with Lars Eller on the ice. It was not pretty.
• Ryan White did nothing and was the only Canadiens who played less than 10 minutes.
• P.K. Subban had four SoG, several cute moves and was on, with Hal Gill, for two Ottawa goals. Not one of the kid’s better games.
• Faceoffs were terrible: Gomez 3-6, Eller 1-8.
• Neil, Francis Lessard and Colin Greening each had four hits. AK46’s three led the Canadiens’ hit parade. If they play this soft in Toronto …
The point was important. If I read the standings correctly, the Canadiens cannot finish lower than seventh.
That avoids a first-round match-up with Washington, and that’s good. With their size, skill and new-found commitment to team D, the Capitals – with decent goaltending – would be heavily favoured.
Of course, that was the case last year. But Washington is a better team.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
There’s another “meaningless” regular-season game to play, against a team that will treat it like Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.
If the Canadiens are as dozy as they were most of the time in Ottawa …
Question for the Commentariat:
Should Price be rested in Toronto?
• God, give me strength! The guys on L’Antichambre say the next Ottawa coach has to be bilingual.