The Montreal Canadiens’ bubble has been popped. 

Few folks anticipated the Canadiens to get to the Spherical of 16, however after beating the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 12-over-5 upset, they earned a first-round date with the Philadelphia Flyers — a staff that appeared to be enjoying a few of their finest hockey following the restart. A massacre ready to occur, proper?

Not fairly. The Canadiens took the Flyers to 6 video games however in the end fell brief and can exit the Toronto bubble with their heads held excessive. However the place did issues go improper for Montreal? Let’s have a look. 

Not sufficient offense

The Canadiens’ lack of offensive firepower is not a brand new growth. They have been hungry for a couple of offensive game-changers for a lwhile now. They had been in a position to get by the Penguins as a result of Pittsburgh was such a multitude on the again finish, nevertheless it’s not totally a shock that Montreal struggled to attain in opposition to a Philly staff that’s robust at pressuring the puck. 

The “not sufficient offense” declare might look questionable on paper contemplating the Canadiens truly outscored the Flyers on this collection, 13-11. Nonetheless, have a look at the collection breakdown for Montreal’s offense:

  • Sport 1: 1 objective
  • Sport 2: 5 objectives
  • Sport 3: 0 objectives
  • Sport 4: 0 objectives
  • Sport 5: 5 objectives (1 ENG)
  • Sport 6: 2 objectives

Ten of their 13 objectives coming in two video games whereas they scored a complete of three within the remaining 4 video games? Not nice! Because it seems, they seem to be a a lot better staff once they rating objectives!

Montreal had a tricky time getting something going offensively for lengthy stretches of this collection. At occasions, the alternatives had been there however the end (or puck luck) wasn’t. They really generated extra high-danger alternatives at five-on-five than the Flyers in each recreation however one (Sport 3) within the collection. At different factors, the Flyers did not permit the Canadiens to assault in waves or clear up in entrance of Carter Hart.

Talking of that man…

Carter Hart

Not a foul first profession playoff collection for the child, eh? 

Even with these two five-goal outputs from Montreal, Hart nonetheless completed the collection 160-for-171 in photographs confronted, good for a .936 save proportion and two shutouts. Goaltending analysts like to throw out the phrase “unflappable” and Hart really appeared unflappable at factors. Whereas the Canadiens did not do the very best job producing high-danger probabilities constantly by way of the collection, Hart was typically there to verify they stayed pissed off even once they did discover prime alternatives. He simply turned 22 and it is onerous to not see why many are calling him the very best younger goaltender to hit the NHL shortly.

In truth, he could be essentially the most hyped goaltending prospect since Carey Worth, who occurred to be Hart’s netminding idol rising up and the opposite man throughout from him on this collection. Worth performed rather well for the Habs however, in the end, it is Hart who was the standout when the 2 shook fingers on the conclusion of the collection, and that needed to be a fairly rattling surreal second for the Flyers goalie.

Simply not prepared but

Come on, let’s be sincere … the Canadiens did not actually should be right here in any respect. It is a staff that had 19 regulation wins in 71 common season video games and made it into an expanded 24-team playoff because the twenty fourth seed. They put up a greater struggle than I anticipated them to — heck, I wasn’t even positive in the event that they had been going to win a recreation in opposition to the Penguins within the play-in spherical — however this is not a staff that is able to be a legit Cup contender simply but. 

They gave the Flyers a very good struggle — and proved to be a chippy, annoying challenger — however they will want a while (and work) earlier than they’re really able to make a run and beat groups which might be as deep as Philly. The roster nonetheless wants some work however this can be a staff that now has a promising core with ahead momentum, a stable prospect pool, vital draft capital and monetary flexibility. They confirmed a bit of little bit of one thing this postseason and so they belong in your radar.

Key losses

In the event you had informed me that this Canadiens staff would lose their coach in addition to one in all their main objective scorers on this collection, I might by no means have imagined they performed in addition to they did. Claude Julien was hospitalized for chest pains after the Habs’ Sport 1 loss to the Flyers and he missed the remainder of the collection. Then, Brendan Gallagher, who co-led the Canadiens with 22 objectives this season, was knocked out of the collection after having his jaw damaged in Sport 5. 

Julien is among the league’s most revered coaches and was a giant purpose why Montreal bought into the Spherical of 16 to start with. Gallagher just isn’t solely one of many higher finishers on a staff with not numerous scoring or depth, he is additionally a coronary heart and soul man on that membership. So it is onerous to have a look at these two very unlucky departures and say that the Canadiens would not have had a greater shot on this collection had these guys caught round. 

Not sufficient offense (or puck luck)

Once more, they scored three objectives within the 4 video games they misplaced. Clearly, dropping Gallagher for Sport 6 did not assist however, I imply, you are simply not going to win a playoff collection in opposition to good groups when your offense is that anemic and inconsistent. They must exit and get some scoring assist and pad the roster with some depth. 

Additionally, and this can be a onerous factor to quantify, nevertheless it felt just like the Flyers bought just about each single bounce on this collection. Typically that is simply the way in which it goes.


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