|Carey Price must be looking forward to the return of his top defenders. (Getty Images)|
Updated Oct. 24
What's wrong with the Montreal Canadiens right now? Well, a little bit of everything. Three top defensemen are out of the lineup, they can't score, the power play is a mess and head coach Jacques Martin seems to be taking all of the heat, as is usually the case in Montreal when things aren't going as planned -- just blame the coach.
Of course, it's still too early to start pushing the panic button, especially with the amount of injuries the Canadiens been going through. But this is Montreal we're talking about, a city with no patience for anything other than immediate success.
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The biggest issue for the Canadiens now is their injury-depleted defense, which has received a total of just three games played from Andrei Markov, Jaroslav Spacek and Chris Campoli. Combine the absence of those three -- Campoli was a late free-agent signing to add depth on the blue line as a result of the injuries -- with a slow start for P.K. Subban and you've got some problems on the blue line. Especially when it comes to helping generate offense.
Montreal's defense has combined for just two goals this season (one from Yannick Weber, the other from Raphael Diaz) while the power play has converted on just two of its 29 attempts entering the week, the second-worst success rate in the league.
The Canadiens did get some much-needed scoring help last week when Michael Cammalleri returned to the lineup, but they lost Scott Gomez to an upper body injury the same night. The injuries have added up, the team is struggling to score and they're falling in the standings. There's still plenty of time to turn this around, especially once they start getting back their injured defensemen, but for right now they've fallen into the bottom three of our power rankings.
Elsewhere in the NHL, the Washington Capitals, thanks to a dominating 7-1 win over the Red Wings that improved their early-season record to 7-0, take over the top spot. The Kings are also on the rise thanks to some stellar play from goaltender Jonathan Quick, who hasn't allowed a goal in three games. And the Blue Jackets? Well, they're getting closer, but still searching for that first win.