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Saturday in Ottawa: the game the Canadiens can’t afford to win
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

I’m the first to say that you shouldn’t wish the Habs nothing but losses, to avoid spoiling the mood in the dressing room. Imagine if the Habs lost 30 in a row to end the season…

That said, if there’s one game the Habs can’t afford to win, it’s tomorrow night’s against Ottawa.

Why can’t they? Because if you look at the standings, it’s clear that the Ottawa Senators, along with the Salt Lake City Coyotes, are the Habs’ “opponents” in the lottery race.


The Blue Jackets and all the other clubs in the top-4 (from the bottom) can’t catch the Habs. Much like in 2022-2023, the Sharks, Hawks, Ducks and Blue Jackets are no good.

To the top? Even if the Flames and Kraken (mathematically) are still catchable, I don’t see the Habs making it. The Flames have a game in hand on the Habs, who have 79 games on the clock.

What this means is that the Sens (74 points) and Coyotes (73 points, like the Habs) are all in a good position to finish fifth, sixth or seventh from bottom.

And there’s quite a difference between finishing fifth and seventh, both in terms of the odds of winning the lottery and the pick itself if the lottery doesn’t change anything.

(Credit: Tankathon)

The last three games will help to change the standings, but we all agree that Saturday’s game against Ottawa will have the biggest impact on the standings.

Will Habs fans be chanting “Go Sens Go” in the stands? Will Cayden Primeau be there? What about Lane Hutson?

While we’re on the subject of standings, it’s worth noting that 13 teams have already qualified. Seven are in the West, and it’s probably only a matter of time before the Golden Knights eliminate St. Louis.

The Jets, for those wondering about the Habs’ choice, are seventh overall.

As for the last two places in the East, Patrick Roy’s Islanders gave themselves a good chance of victory yesterday. Nothing’s decided yet, but it felt good to win against the Habs.

The Penguins, Capitals and Red Wings are also battling it out. The Flyers, with one more game under their belts, cut themselves some slack.

In gusto

– Wow!

– Mark Stone gets the green light to practice with his teammates.

– The Habs won’t make the playoffs… and their affiliated clubs (Rocket and Lions) are off to a bad start. [ECHL]

– Filip Chytil skates.

– Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have great chemistry.

– Really?

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