Nothing seems easy these days for the Canadiens. No matter how well they play, in the end collecting the 2 points has been a struggle all year for this year's edition of the Habs.
The Thursday night game in Montreal against the Canucks was a perfect example. Up 3-1 in the 3rd the team should have been able to seal the deal. In the end, they once again let their opposition back into the game, took a penalty late to allow the Canucks to tie it up, and lost in a shootout.
Forward Erik Cole is currently carrying the Canadiens offense on his back. Pic: Getty Images.
It was kind of predictable. In fact, it's exactly what I did predict after Mason Raymond scored shorthanded to make it 3-1. That's just the way things have been this year. Sadly.
So up 2-0 in the 3rd against the Devils in New Jersey this afternoon, it looked like it was going to happen all over again. The Devils got on the board late and with the Habs hanging on for dear life, took a penalty providing the Devils with every chance in the world to tie the game and send it to overtime.
But that even that wasn't enough. This time, in a mad scramble in front of Carey Price with 50 seconds left on the clock, Josh Gorges closed his hand on the puck in the crease and New Jersey was awarded a penalty shot.
I couldn't stand it. Actually made me sick to my stomach.
I wonder how Jacques Martin and Mr. Gauthier felt!?
I didn't want to watch but I did and this time was happy to see Price make the big save to allow the team to win the game 2-1 on goals from Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole. These two power forwards seem to be carrying the team right now.
But let's not forget the big trade -- Kabs to the Habs. Most online posters including the media absolutely roasted GM Gauthier for making this trade. When I found out, I figured it was a start, but in my opinion it's just the beginning. No doubt in my mind that Gauthier is not finished. I really think Michael Cammellari is the next to go. He has potential value to another team and he's just not getting the job done. We'll see.
For now, let's get this straight: Kaberle was brought in for his powerplay prowess, and for one game at least, it worked. Kaberle assisted on Pacioretty's powerplay goal and also picked up a second assist on Cole's tally, which came right at the end of a powerplay.
So far, so good. A good friend of mine predicted this move to bring in Kaberle and but I'm not as excited about it because it's a lot of money for an underwhelming player. Supposedly Carolina GM Jim Rutherford was shopping Kaberle around for weeks and finally found a sucker in Gauthier. But the upside is this: Kaberle is 33 whereas Spacek is 37 and wouldn't have been re-signed in any case. Kaberle is a good puck moving dman and Spacek is kind of injury prone. And although he has 3 years left on his contract at 4.25 million per season, it doesn't come with a no-trade clause -- so Kaberle could be moved if needed down the line.
Many thought the move reeked of desperation. I think something was needed. Is Kaberle the answer? Definitely not. Can he help? Absolutely. Will this drive die-hard Maple Leafs fans absolutely bonkers!? You bet.
And maybe that's all that matters...
AND, with all their struggles, the Canadiens are now only 2 points back of Toronto.