Rabid Habs

Why the Next 10 Games Will Make or Break the Habs Season

Coming off a disappointing shootout loss to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday, which saw the Habs drop their 5th consecutive game, the Canadiens know that this next stretch of games will make or break their season.

Entering Saturday night’s tilt against the Buffalo Sabres, the Canadiens have an 8-12-3 record, good for 6th in the division, 14th in the Eastern Conference, posting a goals differential of -26, while only scoring 2.30 goals per game. Not exactly the type of numbers Habs fans and players expected to see at this point in the season.

With their playoff hopes already hanging by a thread, the next 10 games will truly determine if the Canadiens can turn their season around and punch their ticket to the Spring dance.

Here’s a look at what the schedule looks like for the Canadiens before they embark on their longest road trip of the season.

What jumps out right away when looking at the Canadiens’ schedule is that they play 8 of their next 10 games at home; 7 against Eastern Conference opponents who they are chasing in the standings. Besides the Central division leading St. Louis Blues and Metropolitan division leading Columbus Blue Jackets, the Habs will face teams that have been playing inconsistently like them during this 10-game stretch.

Why this stretch is also important? 5 games out of their next 10 are against teams within the Atlantic Division: the Ottawa Senators and Detroit Red Wings twice, as well as the Buffalo Sabres. If the Habs hope to pick up victories and climb the standings quickly, they must pick up at least 8 out of a possible 10 points against these teams.

In order to turn their season around and start picking up points in the standings, the Canadiens must start by improving their special team’s unit. The Habs currently rank 29th on the Power Play at a 14.4 per cent clip, while the penalty kill is not much better, running at 75.3 per cent which ranks 27th in the league. These numbers are just not good enough if they expect to get back into the win column. As much as it comes down to coaching and practice in order for the special teams to improve, the players must show a better effort and commitment level.

Another problem that needs to be rectified is 5 on 5 scoring. The Habs attack is ranked dead last in the league in goals for even though they are first in league in shots on goal with 36 per game. Players like Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, and Jonathan Drouin, need to find some type of spark especially playing at home, in order to ignite this anemic offence. Drouin has 1 goal in his last 16, Galchenyuk only has 4 goals in 23 games this season, while the Captain only has 3 goals in his last 10 games. Simply put, their star players have to step up in order for the team to have success.

With Carey Price set to return in nets against Buffalo, and Shea Weber close to returning to game action, these next 10 games will be a true test of character for the Canadiens if they will be playing hockey in April or hitting the greens early.

One Comment

  1. Hovi

    December 5, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    You called, they definitely made it count during this stretch of 10 games you eluded to.