Canadiens Playoffs Start NOW
The Montreal Canadiens find themselves back on the inside of the playoff picture after two convincing wins over the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders and have given fans a bunch of twisted ankles from jumping on and off the bandwagon.
The Habs find themselves in 8th place after the wins and a Columbus Blue Jackets regulation loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Canadiens can thank the Alberta teams for helping them back into the playoff picture as not only did the Jackets lose in regulation to the Oilers, but also the Calgary Flames the game before which effectively opened the door wide open for Montreal to get back into 8th place with a 1 point lead on 9th.
By grabbing two very important wins coupled with two very important CBJ losses the Habs have almost all but ensured this playoff race is down to who wants it more, them or the Blue Jackets. Both teams have 8 games left but the Blue Jackets have easier final 8 against: VAN, NYI, MTL, NSH, BUF, BOS, NYR, and OTT. The Habs will start the home stretch with the first half of back to back games tonight against the Buffalo Sabres and then tomorrow in a massive game against Carolina.
I believe Carey Price is starting tonight and there is speculation he will play tomorrow as well. It's unfortunate that a little over a month ago we were hearing about how the Habs will manage Price's workload heading into the last month and half due to playoffs and now we are likely looking at Price putting the team on his back to ensure a return to the playoff picture but here we are.
This is the reason for the headline of this blog. We fans should look at these final 8 games for what they really are: Playoff games. The Canadiens are playing 4 games over the next 6 nights, two of which are against the two teams they are battling with to secure a Wild Card position.
Before I was concerned about the final 4 games being against NHL heavyweights but those games won't matter at all if they lose 2 of the first 4.
With the next 6 days seeing the Canadiens playing BUF, CAR, FLA, and CBJ we are getting our 2019 playoffs started before anyone else. Just 5 days ago there were those ready to pack it in and move on to blaming different member of the Habs brass or young players and here we are watching the Canadiens control their own destiny.
What a difference a week can make.
Trust me my hope had faded like a dying flashlight after being shut out by the lowly Chicago Blackhawks and that's saying something as I have tried to drive a positive writing campaign all season long no matter what the standings or circumstances were. But after two very well played wins against a couple teams that can play I'm looking forward to the next 6 nights of hockey.
Should the Canadiens manage to take 5-6 points this upcoming week, with at least half of them coming against Carolina and Columbus then these final 2 weeks of the season are likely to be more entertaining than a first round playoff match against the league best Tampa Bay Lightning.
Now I know some will say "That's why they should pack it in and try to get a better draft lotto position!" but I would say that if they missed the playoffs today they aren't likely to drop below Philadelphia who will likely finish 17th or 18th and if the Habs are put out in the first round they would likely finish 16th.
If we are picking between 16-18 whether they make playoffs of not then I would rather watch some playoff hockey dammit! Plus, on the off chance the Habs would beat their first round opponent (TBL or WAS) then we get the added excitement of playoff fever. Yeah, I would like that.
Grab some of your favorite game day food and drink, gather with some like minded friends and family, and will the Habs to victory with me tonight.
Go Habs Go!