The Habs wake up this morning in the familiar position of having their backs against the playoff wall. Lose tonight in Game Six against the Pittsburgh Penguins and go home. Win and they live to fight another day—Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.
But can they do it? Do they have enough left in the tank to push the Pens back to Game Seven?
I think so. But that doesn't mean that it will happen.
The Canadiens are having success this postseason by employing a structured system and that is allowing them to compete with teams who have far more skill than them.
In addition, the leadership core of this team is showing how much more heart they have than the leadership core of last year's team.
For the past two seasons, the Canadiens had teams that were long on talent but short on heart. This year, the Canadiens are almost the opposite. While they definitely have a talent on their team, their depth is paper thin as many of their "key" players are firing blanks.
Andrei Kostitsyn and Benoit Pouliot are shells of the players that they could be and are basically playing the roles of ball and chain on their respective lines.
Tomas "I want a big contract in the offseason" Plekanec has been completely invisible through the Pittsburgh series. Whereas he was perhaps the most consistent Canadiens during the season, Pleky has become a ghost, a shadow of the dominant player he was during the season.
Is it, as suggest on the Team 990 this morning, because he tends to hit a wall around the 90 game mark? Is it because he can no longer fight through the additional physical attention that comes with being a No. 1 center during the playoffs?
Whatever it is, Pleky has once again become a perimeter player and, as such, is completely useless on the offensive side of the puck.
On the defensive side, Tomas is still Tomas. That is to say an incredibly responsible player who won't get you into trouble.
The problem for the Habs is that what they need more than anything right now is offense.
When all of the offensive responsibilities are being left to two players—Michael Cammalleri and Brian Gionta—that is a recipe for disaster.
So, will the passengers on the good ship Canadiens wake up tonight? Will the supporting cast be able to start contributing and help the Canadiens force and perhaps even win a Game Seven in Pittsburgh?
Only time will tell. But if there is one thing that is certain it is that the time for these players to wake up is now. Win tonight and you have a chance to eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champions on Wednesday and go to the conference finals for the first time since 1993.
Lose, and the golf course awaits.
What's it going to be guys? What's it going to be?
- As of the writing of this post, the Habs were looking for a knee brace for Andrei Markov suggesting that they would like to get him back into the lineup tonight or Wednesday—if there is a Game Seven.
- Jaroslav Spacek was part of the game-day skate and should be in the lineup tonight.
-Defenseman Paul Mara also skated this morning but is not yet ready for a return to action.
- Hal Gill was not on the ice for the game-day skate suggesting that he will either not play tonight or will be a game time decision.