Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Montreal Canadiens Hope to Learn from Disappointing, Injury-Filled Season

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Montreal Canadiens Hope to Learn from Disappointing, Injury-Filled Season

Article excerpt

Habs hope to learn from disappointing season

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TORONTO - The Montreal Canadiens are hoping they learned lessons from a disappointing 2017-18 season.

Montreal fell 4-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night finishing the season 29-40-13. For the second time in three years they'll be on the outside looking in when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin next week. Heading into the NHL draft lottery later this month, the Habs have the fourth best odds of landing the top selection in June's NHL Draft at 9.5 per cent.

"You have to remember it. It's a wasted season if you haven't learned your lessons," said Brendan Gallagher, the club's leading scorer with 31 goals and 54 points. "If we don't learn from it, we're going to continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.

"Hopefully we can learn and get better and when we do come out, hopefully on the winning side, it's that much more rewarding. It's definitely been tough playing these games."

Claude Julien admitted the club expected struggles this season, but things were exacerbated by a plethora of injuries. In total, Montreal lost 369 man games to injury, including captain Max Pacioretty (knee) and top defenceman Shea Weber (foot) combining to miss 65 games. Superstar goaltender Carey Price also struggled with injuries, playing in only 49 games.

"This year was supposed to be a bit of a challenge year, but not to the point it turned out," said the Canadiens coach.

"When you have the number of injuries and casualties we've had all year, it certainly puts a dagger in your plans because you're relying on a lot of young players that could've used those experienced guys around them to make them better."

Those who did play all 82-games for the Canadiens this season, weren't altogether comfortable.

Defenceman Karl Alzner, who joined the Canadiens in the off-season after nine seasons with the Washington Capitals, struggled adjusting to a new system.

"It wasn't easy and there was a lot of times where I personally didn't feel comfortable out there," he said. …

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