How bad do you have to be to lose two home games to the 2017-18 Montreal Canadiens?
Maybe bad enough to draft Rasmus Dahlin.
The Buffalo Sabres are going to have the best mathematical chance of picking first and thereby snagging the Swedish defenceman touted as a generational talent.
Their 3-0 win Friday night moved the Canadiens a point ahead of Detroit in the overall standings. If the draft lottery were held Saturday, the Canadiens would have the sixth best odds of getting the top spot and drafting Dahlin … or a 5-foot-10 centre from the Q who’d caught the rheumy eyes of Marc Bergevin’s crackerjack scouting staff.
Let’s revel in another conquest of the NHL’s crappiest team — which outshot the Canadiens 35-24, affording Antti Niemi another chance to prove he’ll help someone next season.
We interrupt ALN to bring you news of a GOOD hockey team:
At the risk of being branded a heretic and burned at the stake — or at Moishe’s Steak House — this lifelong Montrealer REALLY likes the Leafs.
Because the Ol’ Blogger has no life, I watched Toronto destroy Nashville in the Predators’ own barn Thursday night.
What a player. And Matthews’ genius was not unduly encumbered by P.K. Subban.
I think Toronto could make some noise in the postseason.
And the louder that noise gets, the more fun it will be, a mari issue ad mare, for our home and native land.
End of rant.
On to the other end of the hockey spectrum.
Things we liked in Buffalo:
• That heroic third-period penalty kill. But I wouldn’t give Washington a 5-on-3 PP Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
• Alex Galchenyuk’s 200-foot game.
• Bret Lernout and Mike Reilly looking more and more like NHL defencemen. So who needs Dahlin?
• Karl Alzner and Noah Juulsen, who haven’t had a good week, were plus-2.
• Jacob De La Rose went 9-6 on faceoffs and had three SoG. He’s finally playing like an NHLer.
• Jeff Petry wasn’t terrible.
• The Mighty Mites — Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher — sealed the deal with empty-netters. Gallagher is three goals short of 30.
• The fourth line looked a lot better without Mike McCarron.
Bring on the Caps!
• • •
Some updated Ron Reusch notes:
• The Canadiens ended a four-game losing streak. So far this season they have posted three 5-game losing streaks, one 6-game streak and a 7-game losing stretch.
• Heading into Buffalo, the Canadiens had given up at least one power play goal in each of their last 11 road games (17/39) including two in each of the previous three. That’s a 43.6% success rate for opponents.
• Over their pre-Buffalo 23 games on the road, the Canadiens shut down opponents power play only three times. Over that stretch (dating back to Dec. 19) opponents scored 28 PPG on 78 advantages — meaning opponents scored on 35.9% of their opportunities against the Canadiens penalty killers. (In seven of the games the Canadiens gave up two or more PPG)
• The loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday guaranteed March will be another losing month for the Canadiens, their fifth of the season’s six months to date. Their only winning month was November (8-5-2).