In what is a devastating piece of news to those of us in Boston, we regret to inform you that the Montreal Canadiens could be eliminated from playoff contention as early as tonight.
With the Canadiens having legitimately no say in their own potential elimination, too.
On the wrong end of a 2-1 final in Washington on Thursday night, and with little to no urgency from Claude Julien’s team in what was essentially a must-win — hmm, that sounds a bit familiar — the Habs will find themselves on the outside looking in should the Blue Jackets win or even gain two points via overtime/shootout losses over their next two contests.
Currently tied at 94 points, the Blue Jackets currently find themselves in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference due to their regulation/overtime wins advantage over Montreal (Columbus has 44 non-shootout wins while the Canadiens have 41). This means that the Canadiens need to win and basically have the Blue Jackets have an 0-fer weekend.
It’s worth mentioning that the Blue Jackets close out the year with head-to-heads against the Rangers (wins in just three of last 10 games overall) and league-worst Senators, while the Habs will skate against the Maple Leafs on Saturday.
It might be the worst possible position Julien and Co. find themselves in entering the weekend.
If the Canadiens fall to make the postseason, it will be their second straight did-not-qualify under Julien, and will mean that the Habs have missed the playoffs for two years in the row. It would also be their third time missing the postseason in the last four seasons overall, making it just the third three misses in four tries stretch in the franchise’s century-plus history.
For Julien personally, it would mean that his team fell out of a playoff spot and into a did-not-qualify in three of the last five seasons between Boston and Montreal, having done it with Boston in 2015 and 2016, and again with this year’s Canadiens.