Rabid Habs

Upcoming 7-Game Road Trip Could Prove Crucial For Habs Season

After finishing the last home game of 2017 on a high note with a 2-1 overtime win over the Devils courtesy of a spectacular Charles Hudon pass and Tomas Plekanec finish, the annual holiday season road trip is up next for the Habs.

The lengthy trip kicks off with the always entertaining outdoor Centennial Classic in Ottawa, followed by a trip to Western Canada to take on the Canucks, Flames and Oilers before Christmas, and dates with the Hurricanes, Lightning and Panthers to end the 7-game swing.

With these annual long road trips for the Habs, I always like to classify these as a huge part of their season. Why? We’re almost at the midpoint of the 2017-2018 season, and with the Canadiens currently sitting at 14-14-4, the team has to get the ball rolling and string together a few wins, and it all starts this holiday season.

There’s no hiding that the team has really struggled to consistently score goals this season. Montreal’s stagnant offense has been a re-occurring trend for years and has continued this season. This road trip gives Claude Julien and his squad a chance to create some separation from the bottom of the Atlantic Division and start bothering the Bruins, Maple Leafs, and Lightning who currently sit in those top three playoff spots.

The Western Canada trip is never easy, especially because the Habs will see the Flames and Oilers on back-to-back nights, who both have big offensive guns who can burn you in several ways. It’s unrealistic to think the Habs can win all three of those games, but beating at least the injury-riddled Canucks (in Carey Price, Shea Weber and Brendan Gallagher’s home Province) and one of the Flames or Oilers before Christmas is realistic and would be crucial in the standings.

Things get a little interesting after Christmas. With a back-to-back on the 27th and 28th of December against the Hurricanes and Lightning, expect Carey Price to face the Bolts in the latter game, before facing the Panthers a couple days after to end the two week road trip and fly back to Montreal.

Out of 14 possible points, realistically, going over .500 with a 4-3 or hopefully a 5-2 record would be positive for this Habs team going forward into the latter half of this season. Keeping pace with the Boston Bruins is the main goal, and since the Canadiens won’t see them until January where the two rivals meet three times over a span of two weeks, staying in the hunt is most important.

Sometimes, a long trip away from home like this can actually bring a team together and give them motivation to not leave any points on the board. Habs fans are hoping that this team can somehow find the back of the net consistently and are looking for the star forwards like Max Pacioretty, Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk and co. to step up and prove their worth once again.

After 32 games of ups and downs, Marc Bergevin, Claude Julien, the players, and the fans are hoping that this team can pull it together and surge up the standings, and it all starts with this crucial holiday road trip.