Well, I guess it's a good thing there aren't any shootouts in the playoffs. If the Habs make it there and continue to blow leads with two minutes to go, at least it won't come down to a skills competition. Which is a positive, since most of the Canadiens' skills, at least on the goal-scoring side, seem to have vanished.
What the heck is up with Mike Cammalleri, anyway? Sure, he's snakebitten and has missed some glorious chances. But before, even when he was missing, he was buzzing with energy and creating things. He was dangerous. Now he looks as dangerous as a declawed kitten. He's throwing his linemates offside, he's not coming off the boards with the puck and he's fumbling passes. He's always just a beat behind the play. I thought it would take him four or five games to get back on track after such a long layoff, but ten is getting to be a bit much. He's got to start scoring if there's going to be any point at all to making the playoffs. I just hope he's not still hurt.
Pouliot and Gomez aren't any great shakes either. Perhaps it's time to switch up those lines a bit. Maybe some time with Pleks and AK could get Benny going, since those two are having a lot of success right now. Something's got to give, though. You can't have three of your top six forwards not producing if you hope to win hockey games.
Another good reason to be glad there are no shootouts in the playoffs: Jaro has looked like crap in the last two or three he's been in. That was just bad last night, which is unfortunate, given some of the really nice saves he made. The bubble had to burst at some point, though. His team hung him out to dry in the first period and was lucky to come out of it down only one.
There were good things about last night however, despite the slow first period, the blown lead and the wretched shootout. Ryan O'Byrne looked fantastic. Maybe scoring in the last game inspired him, but he was hitting everything that moved and getting the puck out smoothly. For the first time, I noticed him more than I noticed Markov...for the right reasons.
Lapierre has also woken up. That goal he scored was fantastic. Better than that, though, he worked really hard all game, and made Darche and Pyatt better. It's been a long wait to see that kind of effort from him this season. He needs to keep it up.
Aside from the dumbass OT penalty, I thought Andrei Kostitsyn played really well. While his linemate looks lost in the fog, Kostitsyn is doing some cool things with the puck. He made one between-the-legs back pass that would have been a glorious goal if Cammalleri had been able to one-time it. The thing I like about seeing Kostitsyn play this way is he tends to get better once he gets started. Usually his hot play ends in an injury and he has to start all over again. I hope he manages to avoid it this time, as he heats up for the playoffs.
Among the other things to be grateful for today, aside from the lack of shootouts in the playoffs, is the fact the Habs play in the east. If they were in the western conference, they'd be out of the playoffs by a good margin right now. But, because half of the eastern teams have had seasons just as inconsistent and rough as the Canadiens', they still sit in sixth. They need to hold onto that place, because I don't think there's a hope in hell of them taking four of seven from Washington, Jersey or Pittsburgh.
I know, I know, I'm getting greedy. I don't want just a playoff berth. I want a good playoff berth with at least a chance of advancing past the first round. If they can beat Buffalo, they'll probably get the Caps in the second...also known as Theo's Round of Death. They have to win their last two regular season games to not only clinch, but clinch sixth. They couldn't pull off the necessary wins last year, and we saw the results. I'm hoping for better this time around. So, go out there Habs, and get those points. And NO shootouts!