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Hard to believe Montreal is out, playing great

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I cannot remember the last time Montreal was playing this well and they are rewarded with missing the playoffs by two points.  They are certainly far better than the Islanders who will be in and a team like Dallas or Vegas who are in.  It is the early part of the season that did them in.  I never saw them playing this well from day one.  But they have impressed me.  I was pretty shocked to see that they will not get in. It might be a lucky thing for some teams like Tampa that they wont have to deal with Montreal the way they are playing.  So the game vs the Leafs tonight is not as big as it might have been.  

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Montreal has played, IMO, over their heads most of the season, so them missing by just a bit doesn't surprise me.

True, they still have Carey Price, who is still an elite goalie, but even he played quite average many times this year. I don't expect that to be the norm for him, but fact was, some games, he just didn't look at ALL like a guy who could be nominated for a Vezina every season.

Outside of him, Max Domi and Gallagher had good years, they missed Shea Weber almost all year and he wasn't immediately impactful when he got back.... Jonathan Drouin did ok, but for a guy who was supposed to be their 1C (who ended up playing wing, interestingly enough, where Tampa Bay had him), he was a bit underwhelming.

Rest of the team, frankly, lacked depth.
Again, many of their players played over their heads and it was enough to buoy the team for a bit, but when it came down to it, the better teams, or the deeper teams, ended up with the playoff spots.


Not fair to compare what the Habs did this year as opposed to Western teams, especially the West wildcards, because the East and West were completely different this league, the East being the tougher nut to crack.

But even compared to other Eastern teams, I feel Columbus should have been top three all along anyways, so I would rate them over the Habs.
Islanders? Ok, a bit of a case can be made that these guys have played over their heads as well, however, when you consider that Barry Trotz had his guys not only playing a COMPLETE team game (something Montreal struggled with many times over the season), but doing it consistently and backing it up with a good goaltending tandem, one could say that the Islanders, while not being much better than Montral on paper, certainly PLAYED much better on the actual ice sheet....and THAT is what really matters.


Carolina, Pittsburgh? Dynamic, fast teams, wither perhaps some issues in goal (Carolina....goalies playing over their heads? Possibly.) or on defense (Pens...very average looking d-men?), but still, played CONSISTENTLY enough to just outdo the Habs…..
Plus, I dare say the forward ranks on both the Canes and Pens is much deeper than that of the Canadiens, so there is that as well.

No....the Habs missing the playoffs sounds about right.
If they make some tweaks in the off season, have a full year of a healthy Shea Weber, and Carey Price returns to his usual stellar self start to finish, Montreal should make the top 8 next year.
But for now, they got exactly what they rated.

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