Updated: Apr 15
A rough week for the Montreal Canadiens brings up many questions.
Photo courtesy of the @canadiensmtl on instagram
This week in the world of hockey, the Habs lose a critical four points at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers, losing 4-2 to the Leafs on Wednesday and 3-0 to the Oilers on Thursday, but rally back to win their last game of the week by a score of 2-1 on Saturday against the Leafs.
For most of the week, it felt like watching a different team play. Gone were the amazing plays and creative shooting that the Canadiens displayed at the start of they season. Instead, all the fans were greeted with were turnovers, and showing a lack of scoring, losing their title of top scoring team in the league. Josh Anderson and Thomas Tatar were the lone Habs goal scorers in the first game of the week, followed by a shutout lose to Edmonton. It wasn’t until the third period of Saturdays game were the Habs started to put pressure on the opponent, thanks to a confidence boosting goal by Tyler Toffoli, who sparked a light on the bench. It would be Brendan Gallagher who would seal the deal, scoring the game winning goal with a little over three minutes left in the game.
Carey Price’s performance thus far has been below average. There is no denying that Price is one of the most talented goalies this year, but his subpar numbers this season have turned some heads. With a 5-2-2 record, a 2.64 GAA, and a .901 save percentage, the 10-million-dollar Carey that we are used to seeing is clearly not there yet. He did have a bounce back game on Saturday, stopping 21 out of 22 shots. This is the performance that we need to see more often from Price if we want to start another winning streak.
Goal scoring was possibly the biggest issue this past week. Having only three goals in three games is a far cry from the start of the season. While Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli have been fantastic additions, many other guys who are relied upon offensively have not pulled their weight. Guys like Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who has one goal in 15 games, as well as Phillip Danault, who has no goals in 15 games, must produce more offensively, especially Danault, who reportedly rejected a six year, 5 million a year offer from the Canadians, despite saying that he wants to stay with the organization. If he wants more money than Anderson and Toffoli, who have nine and ten goals respectively, well then he needs the numbers to showcase this.
Perhaps the biggest controversy of the week, however, surrounded Tomas Tatar, who was a healthy scratch on Saturday’s game. Tatar was last years top scorer on the Canadians, and has been a consistent top line winger for the club, even scoring on Wednesday. The scratching of a top six winger can only mean two things. Either the coach is trying to send a message, or the player is about to get traded. Seeing as Tatar is on the last year of his contract, and Montreal most likely won’t keep both him and Danault, it is reasonable to think that we might see Tatar being involved in a trade.
A rough week for the Habs brings up many questions. Is Price under-performing, what happened to our goal scorers? Is Bergevin looking to trade Tomas Tatar?