Within the Habs Room: Canadiens seem like they’re operating out of gasoline

PITTSBURGH — Late within the third interval of Friday night’s 4-1 loss — simply earlier than the Pittsburgh Penguins scored an empty-net purpose to seal it — the Canadiens’ official Twitter account despatched out brief video clip of gamers profitable a puck battle in their very own zone together with the phrases: “On ne lâche pas. Not giving up.”

That might be the workforce’s new slogan, and whereas the Canadiens may not be giving up, they definitely seem like they’re operating out of gasoline with 22 video games left within the season and their playoff hopes on life assist after a 3rd straight loss.

“We’ll see with time, proper?” coach Claude Julien mentioned after the sport about his workforce’s gasoline tank. “It’s really a actuality. We don’t wish to go there so far as a workforce. We really feel that we wish to preserve pushing. I do know our likelihood is getting slimmer each sport we lose. However we glance round and we had a little bit little bit of assist like final night time (when Toronto misplaced Three-2 to Dallas) so it provides you hope. On the finish of the day, it’s fairly easy: we’re going to should get on a extremely good profitable streak if we plan on getting again into this hunt.”

Canadiens’ Jake Evans handles the puck forward of Penguins’ Juuso Riikola (50) and Sam Lafferty (37) through the first interval at PPG PAINTS Enviornment on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, in Pittsburgh.

Charles LeClaire /

USA TODAY Sports activities

The Canadiens are fifth within the Atlantic Division and path Toronto by seven factors for the third and remaining playoff spot with the Maple Leafs holding two video games in hand. The Canadiens path Columbus by 10 factors for the ultimate wild-card spot within the Jap Convention with the Blue Jackets holding one sport in hand. There are additionally three different groups between the Canadiens and Blue Jackets.

The Canadiens might be again in motion Saturday when the Dallas Stars go to the Bell Centre (7 p.m., SNE, CITY, TVA Sports activities, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

“There’s no one feeling sorry for us,” mentioned Brendan Gallagher, who scored the one purpose for the Canadiens on an influence play. “It’s win a sport tomorrow. It’s our job. Our job is to play. There isn’t a single workforce within the league that’s going to let up and really feel sorry. This sport’s much more enjoyable if you’re profitable … let’s get again to that.”

Gallagher’s gasoline tank won’t ever run out, and his purpose was the fifth in 9 video games since coming back from a concussion and his 20th of the season. However 36-year-old Ilya Kovalchuk is now pointless in his final three video games and was minus-2 in opposition to the Penguins. Jonathan Drouin is pointless in 4 video games since coming back from wrist surgical procedure, was minus-2 in opposition to the Penguins and is minus-5 since coming again with solely 4 photographs on purpose. Max Domi was additionally minus-2, is pointless in his final 5 video games and has just one purpose and 5 help in his final 20.

“You already know what, all we’re involved about is simply preparing for the subsequent sport,” Domi mentioned. “It’s a back-to-back. Dallas is an effective workforce coming in. You may by no means dwell on the previous, proper? You may’t change it. All you are able to do is prepare for the subsequent one and management the long run. So we’re not giving up by any means. We’re a workforce that’s going to stay collectively, we imagine in each other and we’ll work for one another each night time. So we’ll proceed to try this and we acquired to discover a strategy to get the subsequent two factors.”

The Canadiens aren’t formally out of the playoffs but, however there’s no gasoline station in sight.