That’s a joke. I was never off the bandwagon. What can I say? I’m just a hyper-critical guy. And it’s true when I wrote that blog last Sunday about Marc Bergevin’s mis-steps, I was down in the dumps about the Habs, as were so many in the Habs nation.
But since then, the Canadiens have won three in a row, all against pretty good teams, in Minnesota, Washington and Pittsburgh. So what happened? Is it really a changed team today compared to a week back?
Well one point is that the margin between a winning team and a losing one is mighty thin. Most of these games are tight. Okay one Habs game this week was a semi-blowout – the 6-2 shelling of the Wild – but the two back-to-back wins this weekend were one-goal affairs, 3-2 against the Capitals Friday and the same score against the Penguins Saturday night.
The weird thing is both nights, Montreal zipped to a 3-0 nothing lead, both times the other team came back to make it 3-2 and both times the Habs opponent couldn’t get that last goal to tie things up. In other words – says the voice of doom and gloom – either of those games could’ve easily gone to extra time.
But a win is a win is a win, so it’s still three wins in a row and so something right is going on here. The obvious point is the team is scoring goals for a change. Going into the game Tuesday against the Wild, Montreal had scored just three times in its previous three games. Since then, it has outscored its opponents 12-6 over the course of the past three games.
You also can’t overplay the Max Pacioretty factor. He’ scored five goals in his past two games at the Bell Centre, a hat trick against the Wild and two markers versus the Penguins Saturday night. So the scoring explosion is partly just Patch getting some mojo from his Movember ‘stash and this, by the way, is par for the course for one real streaky player. That’s five goals in two games – and he only had two goals prior to that this season.
It also helps that David Desharnais has come to life, seemingly sparked by Mayor Coderre’s bone-headed tweet about sending him down to Hamilton. He had two assists in the Wild game and scored his first regulation-time goal of the season Friday in Washington.
Plekanec has also upped his game this week. He scored a nice wrister of a goal Saturday and, better yet, drove Sid the Kid to distraction by shutting him down, in the faceoff circle and elsewhere. Crosby was visibly p.o.’d and turned into his usual whiny-boy self, leading Plek to crack that “I didn’t say anything to him, he was talking all the time.”
Notice I haven’t mentioned the kids. For the first time this season, these are games where the young ‘uns – Eller, Gallagher and Galchenyuk – haven’t been the first stars. Finally the more seasoned guys have stepped up…and that’s the biggest reason things are going swimmingly.
So I do take back everything I wrote about Bergevin? Of course not. But I am back in off the ledge. And that’s a good thing given the wintery weather outside.