“We’ve played a lot of hockey in less than three weeks. This team is drained. They’re empty. The lemon is squeezed of all its juice.”
That was Montreal coach Michel Therrien after his team was beaten, 2-1, by the visiting Florida Panthers on Sunday.
For the fully-squeezed Canadiens, it was their third defeat in four outings, the lone win coming Saturday, 1-0 in overtime on Long Island. In their past four games combined, the Habs have scored just three times while averaging a meager 23.8 shots. Though on the bright side, 19-year-old forward Alex Galchenyuk has been dangerous.
Tonight, the Phoenix Coyotes pay a visit to the Bell Centre, after which the Habs travel to St. Louis (Thursday) and Nashville (Saturday) before what sounds like a much-needed Christmas break.
The Coyotes, meanwhile, are coming off a 3-1 home loss to Carolina on Saturday. Phoenix started the season extremely well, posting a 14-4-3 record in its first 21 games. But the team is a mediocre 4-5-2 since, and has fallen out of a playoff spot in the tough Western Conference.
“We’re still in an all right position,” goalie Mike Smith said, per the Arizona Republic. “I think we’re nine games above .500 (18-9-5). You start the season and say by Christmas if you’re that, I think you’re pretty happy. But, obviously, we want to be in a playoff position and to do that we have to win hockey games.”