These are dark times in Montreal and it’s not that much brighter in D.C. Ahead of the Capitals’ clash with the Habs, Al Dannity looks at what went wrong with two of the NHL’s premier franchises.
Patch-work could only last so long Montreal’s malaise through the 2011/12 season is not a one-off blip. Things appeared to be looking up. There was a better than expected playoff run two seasons ago and a battling albeit futile post-season showing last year. These highs however were temporary flurries of energy from an organisation that is riddled with problems. Gare Joyce’s excellent analysis of the fall of the Habs’ empire points to the deep issues affecting Montreal. There is a lack of star power in the current line-up and the farm system offers little hope for the future. The mishandling of a coaching change shows the issues in Montreal extend far beyond the ice. This is an organization in need of a complete overhaul. One that can reignite the fire amongst the Canadiens’ faithful.
Yes this is bad The problems for Montreal dwarf those of the Capitals but there is still plenty of cause for concern. Having finished with 108, 121, and 107 points in each of the last three seasons, Washington is on course for 93 points this year. The Capitals is currently losing an unlikely battle with the Panthers for the Southeast division. If the playoffs started tomorrow Washington would be the #8 seed and only barely. This is not the dominant force that Alex Ovechkin led on a tear through the regular season these past four years. The early season dismissal of Bruce Boudreau did little to inspire confidence. Whatever problems are there should have been visible since the first round exit from the playoffs last year and addressed before this season. For all of Washington’s woes in the post-season, this team is still built to dominate at this time of year. Only a recent surge in form has given NHL betting fans cause for confidence in the Capitals.
As for tonight Recent form points heavily to a win for the road team. Aside from the Caps possessing the stronger roster, Washington has looked more like a winner lately. In the midst of a playoff push, the need to make up for a 3-0 loss to the Islanders should be all motivation this team needs. I like the Washington Capitals to win on the road in Montreal.
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