The Montreal Canadiens had two important games this last weekend, as both the Ottawa Senators and the New York Rangers were within the Canadiens' range in the standings.
After taking a short 2-1 lead in Ottawa, the team collapsed to finally lose by the score of 4-2. Then in New York, Montreal took a 2-0 lead in the first period but completely collapsed once again and lost 6-2. The Canadiens cannot continue to drop points in the standings for very long before their playoff berth races away from them.
Of course, there are some positive points here and there. For example, Benoit Pouliot has adjusted his marks and is now having a blast along with Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez. But somewhere, the good points just don't weigh enough in the balance.
We have seen an immediate effect on Tomas Plekanec's production since Andrei Kostitsyn's injury. The club's depth isn't good enough to provide immediate offensive support to Plekanec and Mike Cammalleri.
The major problem of the club is still their defensive coverage. I have not seen any improvement since day one in this department. The opponents skate in Montreal's zone with ease and can easily send 40 shots on net. There is virtually no stick checking (and I don't mean cross checking here) and no bodychecking.
With the Olympic tournament scheduled in less than a month and the trade deadline coming only two days after the Games' closing ceremony, some General Managers, including Bob Gainey, will have many propositions on the table.
(Picture: Benoit Pouliot, Canadian Press.)