Game Day: Habs vs. Canucks

 

The Montreal Canadiens will look to bounce back from a slightly embarrassing 3-2 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday evening, as they prepare to face the Vancouver Canucks at the Bell Centre.

Logic would dictate that the Habs will be looking at another loss after tonight's game, but this team doesn't exactly follow the laws of physics. If this season has proven anything, it's that when their backs are up against the wall (i.e., the coach's job seems to be in jeopardy), this team will bust out a win against the most unlikely opponent. It happened in Winnipeg when the Canadiens beat the Jets in their long-awaited home opener. It happened again in Philadelphia and then in Boston when the Canadiens lost their assistant coach, Perry Pearn, following a six-game losing streak. It happened in November in the games following poor losses against the Oilers and Islanders.

And in all likelihood, it will happen again tonight against the Canucks. That's just how this team works. They do just enough to justify the status quo, and defeating a team that they should have no business beating will distract just enough people away from the fact that this organization needs to take a long hard look at itself and reassess how it does its business.

We have the owner of the team coming out and saying he's satisfied with the team being 22nd overall in the league. The GM only comes out of his whole right as the spark is about to be lit in a couple of cop cars by angy Habs fans, and the coach's answers are as muddled and inconsistent as the team he's in charge of. All while the Canadiens are only able to muster three wins in their last 10 games, while they're in the playoff battle of their lives.

The fan inside of me wishes the Canucks -- who are 8-2-0 in their last 10 games and feature well known stars like Daniel (12G, 33pts) and Henrik (22A, 30pts) Sedin, Ryan Kesler (17 points) and even the resurging former Hab Chris Higgins (8G, 17pts), not to mention a veritable battle in goal between Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo -- will absolutely blow out the Habs, allowing for real changes to finally be made.

But in reality, the Canadiens tend to play inexplicably well when it comes to teams like this. So the end result will probably be a squeaker of a win, maybe in overtime, and at least another two days of the status quo.

Because that's how we roll in Montreal.

Players to look out for on the Canadiens tonight are Max Pacioretty, who maybe had the worst game of his career on Tuesday, following his 3-game suspension, and will be looking to bounce back, Erik Cole, who plays consistently whether he scores or not (26 shots in his last six games) and will likely be a key player against a bigger Western conference team, as well as Alexei Emelin, currently leading the team with 75 hits in 20 games, and coming off a 9-hit performance (assuming the coach doesn't shut him down for, you know, giving a f*ck). And of course Carey Price.

Forgive me for sounding a little pessimistic, but I'm certain that my frustrations are shared by many. It's not fun watching this team anymore, win or lose. Thursday night's usually my NBC comedy night, and while the Canadiens usually take precedence thanks to the DVR, I find it harder and harder to keep the channel locked on RDS these nights. Unfortunately, changing the channel, not going to games and not buying merchandise migth be what we have to do in order to finally show the Canadiens that being in the bottom third of the league is never acceptable.

For what it's worth, however, there's still a game tonight, and it's still against an exciting Canadian team. The Habs face the Canucks tonight at 7:30PM on home ice. You can watch the game on RDS and TSN-Habs.