By Andy Bayer
The Habs’ fortunes have finally turned. Montreal lost four of five in the Death Valley of California (plus Phoenix and Boston). The funny thing is, the Habs are actually playing some of their best hockey of the season. After gliding through the season getting good luck and great goaltending, Montreal is now getting neither. Their Fenwick Close in the last 10 games is 50.5 per cent (via extraskater.com). As Andrew Berkshire points out, Montreal has actually played great possession hockey since the Olympics, especially if you remove the crapifying influence of Douglas Murray.
And this is still the problem: Michel Therrien refuses to ice his best lineup. Therrien sat out Mike Weaver in favour of the much inferior Murray against Boston on Wednesday. He also played Francis Bouillon 23:12, more than P.K. Subban. Not only is Bouillon not very good, but he’d been a healthy scratch for eight straight games. Thomas Vanek also only played 15:49, and he’s been very good in his last few games.
I think this Habs team is too talented to fall out of the playoffs at this point. But if Therrien continues to make these perplexing lineup decisions, anything is possible.