“Any given Sunday” has been the NFL’s mantra for years, suggesting any group can beat some other group as soon as the ball is kicked off.

“Any given night time” might be the chant within the salary-capped NHL, the place any group can beat some other group on any night time — and in any playoff sequence. We noticed that ultimate season, when the Tampa Bay Lightning used to be swept through the Columbus Blue Jackets within the first spherical of the playoffs after profitable the Presidents’ Trophy as regular-season champion with an excellent 62-16-Four report, completing 21 issues forward of the Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins, who tied for the second-most issues.

Heading into Thursday’s video games, the Lightning had a 9-7-2 report this season and have been in 12th position within the Japanese Convention standings, which wasn’t anticipated. It additionally wasn’t anticipated that the star-studded Toronto Maple Leafs would cross winless in six video games (0-5-1), leading to trainer Mike Babcock getting fired Wednesday after the group were given off to a 9-10-Four get started.


Montreal Canadiens’ Charles Hudon shoots the puck previous a sliding Ottawa Senators Nikita Zaitzev right through first duration in Montreal on Nov. 20, 2019.

John Mahoney /

Montreal Gazette

Successful in nowadays’s NHL isn’t simple and nor is making the playoffs, which is why lengthy winless streaks can also be fatal. That’s why the Canadiens want to snap out in their three-game winless streak (0-1-2) Saturday night time on the Bell Centre in opposition to the New York Rangers ahead of the Boston Bruins come to the town subsequent Tuesday.

The Canadiens have been nonetheless sitting in a playoff spot in 3rd position within the Atlantic Department with an 11-6-Five report after Wednesday night time’s 2-1 time beyond regulation loss to the Ottawa Senators on the Bell Centre. Closing season, the Canadiens had an 11-7-Four report after 22 video games. Apparently, the Canadiens’ longest winless streak ultimate season used to be 5 video games and it used to be at this identical time of 12 months after they went 0-3-2 from Nov. 19-27. In addition they had a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) from Feb. 9-17 and ended up completing two issues out of the general playoff spot within the Japanese Convention.

The margin between profitable, shedding and making the playoffs hasn’t ever been smaller within the NHL and 4 of the Canadiens’ ultimate seven video games have long gone into time beyond regulation, together with one shootout. The Canadiens received the shootout recreation and misplaced the 3 others in OT.

“I simply suppose it’s loopy … any group can beat any group on any given night time,” the Canadiens’ Nick Cousins stated Thursday morning after a exercise on the Bell Sports activities Complicated in Brossard. “In the event you lose 3, 4 in a row you’re going to be out of the playoffs since the standings are so tight they usually’re going to be so tight till the ultimate recreation of the season. I feel if we will be able to get out of this funk right here that we’re in — we’ve misplaced 3 in a row now — we’ve simply were given to stay striking issues at the board every night time. Try to separate yourselves as absolute best you’ll be able to with how tight the department is. I feel you’ve simply were given to do away with the three-, four-, five-game shedding streaks.”

The Canadiens have to start out burying their scoring possibilities in the event that they need to do this. They have got scored handiest 3 objectives of their ultimate two video games regardless of outshooting the Blue Jackets 32-26 in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss in Columbus after which outshooting the Senators 36-24, together with 12-Three within the first duration, which ended 0-0.

Comparable

The Canadiens didn’t cross at the ice for practise Thursday and handiest made 4 gamers to be had to the media: Joel Armia, Victor Mete, Ben Chiarot and Cousins. Trainer Claude Julien additionally took a time off from talking with the media.

The Canadiens have a convention scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday on the Bell Sports activities Complicated.

“The ultimate couple of video games, we out roughly out-chanced each groups,” Cousins stated. “I feel we’ve carried nearly all of the play as neatly. However on the identical time, after we’re now not burying our possibilities we’re roughly preserving the opposite group round and I feel you noticed that ultimate night time. They have been beautiful fortunate to get to time beyond regulation after which in time beyond regulation it’s any individual recreation. I feel if we will be able to capitalize on our possibilities … I feel if we get the lead, we roughly need to prolong the lead as neatly. I feel if we do a greater task of that we’ll set ourselves up for a greater outcome.

“I simply suppose it comes right down to bearing down for your possibilities,” Cousins added. “In Columbus, we had 3 or 4 breakaways there to roughly prolong the lead. We didn’t capitalize on the ones performs. After which ultimate night time, we had numerous possibilities within the slot and (Senators goalie Craig) Anderson got here up large and made some just right saves. However … I feel it’s on us to bury the ones possibilities. I feel it’ll come. We’ve simply were given to be affected person.”

In nowadays’s NHL, you’ll be able to’t keep affected person too lengthy if you wish to make the playoffs.

Simply ask the Leafs.

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