A seven-game losing streak was extinguished Tuesday night at Bell Centre as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Florida Panthers 5-1. It was a good start, but there’s plenty for the team to clean up and figure out if they’re going to make this “winning” thing a consistent theme.
Given their rough start, you have to believe it will turn around sooner or later. A 1.89 goals per game average? That should rise. Carey Price sporting a .891 even strength save percentage? We know he’s better than that. A league-low PDO of 93, according to Corsica? The bounces will start going their way at some point.
General manager Marc Bergevin believes his club is in the “cluster” of good teams in the NHL through the first three weeks of the season. A 100-point, division-winning 2016-17 campaign may have increased expectations for 2017-18 a bit too much, however.
“Sometimes things go your way,” Bergevin said on Wednesday. “Everything lines up properly and you end up finishing first.”
But the GM is firm in his belief that he has a good hockey team in his hands. “Maybe we’re not as good as we were, but we’re not as bad as our record shows now,” he said.
Bergevin won’t be making a trade for the sake of shaking up his roster. Teams know the Habs are in a rough patch, so the offers won’t really be worth exploring because in his eyes they don’t end up benefiting his team, only the vultures looking to pick at the carcass. There won’t be a head coaching change unless things get really, really bad.
Something has to change, as teams are getting on the ice with the Canadiens knowing they’re facing an opponent looking for answers.
So how do they dig out of this early season mess?
“The answer is in that room,” Bergevin said. “Coaches are working hard every day spending hours, and we watch tapes, see where the breakdowns are and sometimes they’re just the smallest breakdowns and it’s in our net and then it affects your confidence. It might not be what people like to hear, but it’s reality.
“You could play with a bad foot, a bad hand, but with no confidence, it’s so obvious, and that’s what’s happening right now.”