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The 2022-23 season has now come to an end for the Montreal Canadiens.  They had a back-to-back set to finish off the campaign but while they kept things close in both games, they weren’t able to pick up a point, resulting in them finishing fifth-last league-wide.

The Week That Was

Apr. 12: Islanders 4, Canadiens 2 – New York had everything to play for in this one as it was their last game of the season and a must-win if they wanted to lock down a playoff spot.  Montreal?  Well, they were hoping no one else would be injured…and that didn’t happen as Mike Hoffman was injured late in the third.  The Isles led for the majority of the game but the Habs made it interesting late in the second period when Nick Suzuki scored shorthanded to make it a one-goal game heading into the third but Ilya Sorokin shut things down from there to clinch them a postseason birth.

Apr. 13: Bruins 5, Canadiens 4 – Somewhat surprisingly, Boston opted to play close to their full lineup in contrast to what some top contenders decided to do.  Having said that, they weren’t exactly going all out either.  That made for a back and forth as both teams had and blew the lead within the first two periods.  Lucas Condotta opened up the scoring with his first NHL goal on his first NHL shift while Justin Barron continued Montreal’s recent stretch of scoring shorthanded with his third-period goal giving the Habs the lead in the third.  But Boston scored twice from there to end Montreal’s campaign on a losing note.



# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
6 Chris Wideman 2 0 0 -5 2 0 15:04
8 Mike Matheson 2 0 0 E 0 5 20:26
11 Brendan Gallagher 2 0 0 -1 6 9 14:24
14 Nick Suzuki 2 2 0 -1 0 5 19:46
25 Denis Gurianov 2 0 0 E 0 5 13:25
26 Johnathan Kovacevic 2 0 0 +1 0 0 23:28
27 Jonathan Drouin 2 0 0 -2 0 0 15:45
32 Rem Pitlick 2 1 2 +1 4 1 16:29
38 Joel Teasdale 2 0 1 -2 0 1 10:52
40 Joel Armia 2 0 0 -1 0 2 18:35
44 Joel Edmundson 2 0 1 -3 9 0 19:53
52 Justin Barron 2 1 0 +1 2 1 22:18
55 Michael Pezzetta 2 1 1 -1 2 5 11:59
57 Sean Farrell 2 0 0 E 0 5 12:49
67 Chris Tierney 2 0 1 -1 0 1 13:35
68 Mike Hoffman 1 0 0 -1 2 2 16:15
71 Jake Evans 2 0 2 E 0 2 14:23
73 Lucas Condotta 1 1 0 E 0 5 11:02
82 Frederic Allard 2 0 0 +2 0 4 15:01


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
35 Samuel Montembeault 0-2-0 4.58 .839 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Caufield/Suzuki (26)
Assists: Nick Suzuki (40)
Points: Nick Suzuki (66)
+/-: Harvey-Pinard/Matheson (+7)
PIMS: Arber Xhekaj (101)
Shots: Josh Anderson (164)

News And Notes

– Frederic Allard, Joel Teasdale, and Lucas Condotta were this week’s recalls from Laval.  The last two saw their first tastes of NHL action and each picked up their first career point at the top level.  All three were sent back down on Friday.

– Most players met with the media on Friday.  Rather than pull some of the news and notes for here, the top things were mentioned in our recap.

– Looking ahead, only two Habs so far are confirmed to be going to the World Championship, Samuel Montembeault (Canada) and prospect Luke Tuch (USA).  A handful of others might also commit in the coming days but with most of Montreal’s top players either being injured or are taking a pass on the event, they’re not going to have a ton of players participating.

– Montreal scored 11 more goals than last season while allowing 12 fewer but failed to crack the top 25 in both categories.

Last Game’s Lines:

Drouin – Suzuki – Armia
Pitlick – Evans – Gallagher
Farrell – Tierney – Gurianov
Pezzetta – Condotta – Teasdale

Matheson – Barron
Edmundson – Wideman
Kovacevic – Allard

The Lottery Ahead

The Habs finished 28th in the NHL standings, giving them the fifth-best odds heading into next month’s draft lottery.  Only two draws are held which means the Canadiens can’t pick third or fourth and can only slide down as far as seventh in the worst-case scenario.  Their odds at drafting in each spot is as follows (rounded to the nearest tenth so it’s not quite 100% in total):

1st Overall: 8.5%
2nd Overall: 8.8%
5th Overall: 24.5%
6th Overall: 44.2%
7th Overall: 13.9%

If it seems odd that Montreal’s best odds are to drop a spot, that’s the case for everyone.  There’s a 38.5% chance that someone ahead of them in the standings wins each lottery (the cumulative odds for a team slotted 6-16) and there are two draws which, mathematically speaking, presents a pretty good chance that they’ll slide back.  It doesn’t mean it will happen but the odds of it happening are higher than you might have thought.

Final Thought

Another disappointing year has come and gone and while it’s a process that most teams have to go through in a rebuild, it doesn’t automatically make it easier to stomach.  For the first couple of months of the season, the Habs were pretty entertaining and more competitive than I think most would have expected.  Most importantly, this is when they were relatively healthy.  For me, this is the one positive of the campaign as we all know things went off the rails after that. 

In 2023, they had just 35 points; only three teams had fewer with the lowest being at 31.  Yes, playing with half a team will tend to do that but Montreal also rolled over far too often for my liking down the stretch.  Here’s hoping that those struggles and bad habits don’t carry over to next season.  If they do, the rebuild might be lasting longer than anyone would have hoped. 

If they play like they did in the first half, however, this team could at least find itself hanging around the playoff picture a little longer in 2023-24 which would follow the expectation that GM Kent Hughes seemingly placed on them on Friday – not a guarantee that they’d be in there but a belief that they’d be in the mix.  That’s the next logical step in this process, one that still has a little while to go.