The Montreal Canadiens Are Showing Those Playoff Runs Were Flukes
Let’s face facts the Montreal Canadiens are not a good hockey team right now. After making the Stanley Cup Final in 2021, the Canadiens are not even close to the same team that went on that run. Some of that has to do with injuries to key players, but some of it has to do with the fact, the Canadiens are not just not good and too inconsistent. And the beginning of this year shows that the Canadiens were not a playoff team over the past two seasons.
Entering the season, there was an expectation that the Canadiens would be more competitive than this. Maybe even battling for a playoff spot in a tough Atlantic Division. Sitting with a 2-8-0 after 10 games, nobody thought this could be a reality. Not having Carey Price and Shea Weber certainly is hurting this team. Price is such a stable force in between the pipes while Weber was the leader of this team on and off the ice. Not having his voice in the locker room is definitely making life difficult for the Canadiens to rebound from losses.
Not only that, but their play on the ice is so inconsistent. In addition, the Canadiens have lost the identity that made them successful under Dominique Ducharme
These inconsistencies on the ice were a problem that plagued the Canadiens over the past two seasons as they were lucky to make the playoffs in 2020 and 2021. Recall, Montreal made the playoffs in 2020 because of the return to play format as the playoffs expanded to 24 teams. The Canadiens were the final team into the mix. They were able to win the wild-card round but lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in round one. In 2021, Montreal was again the final team to make the playoffs and because of their play and overachieving they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
However, those runs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs were flukes and what we are seeing at the beginning of this season is what the Canadiens are. An inconsistent team that relies heavily on one player, Carey Price, to win games. But that has been the old motto for years with Montreal as Carey Price goes, so do the Canadiens. And clearly, Montreal misses him. But that should not affect their game on the ice. But it has and Montreal is terribly inconsistent. This time for the Canadiens getting behind the eight-ball will most likely cost them a playoff spot this year.
But the Canadiens poor play has not been just limited to the regular season. Going back to the preseason, the Canadiens execution has been very poor. And while it is the only exhibition, and the games really don’t matter, teams should be ironing out problems during the preseason. The Canadiens never did that and it has leaked over to the regular season. What has not been talked about enough is the loss of Phillip Danault and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. Danualt was a number one centre and was perfect in his role. Nick Suzuki has not been able to take over that role. Christian Dvorak has been able to replace Kotkaniemi just fine. But the loss of a number one centre cannot be understated. It is hampering this team offensively.
The biggest problem has been the fact that the Montreal Canadiens have not been able to fix glaring issues in their lineup. Every night they become more glaring as they continue to get exposed. This team is too good to be this bad. Something has to give eventually. However, one thing is for sure, their run to the Stanley Cup Final was a fluke and this team over the past two years did not deserve to be in the playoffs.