Bob Gainey said after this embarrassment at the Bell Centre that the Montreal Canadiens next goal should be to win a game they "deserve to win."
But even though the Florida Panthers and Buffalo Sabres are determined to make sure it happens, the Canadiens don't deserve a whole lot of anything, least of all a playoff spot.
Both the Sabres and Panthers lost Saturday night so the Habs remain eighth in the East, and they've lost only two points on the Panthers and gained a point on the Sabres while going 3-5-2 in their last 10.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that the only thing that makes the Habs a team right now is the fact they all happen to wear the same jersey when they go out for a skate. Otherwise, the Montreal Canadiens are nothing more than a group of individuals, and individuals will never beat a real team. Say what you will about how grim things are for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but on Saturday night they played like a team, one that smelled blood and pounced on it.
So where do the Canadiens go from here, still clinging to a playoff spot but completely lost as a group?
Gainey said he would be discussing things Sunday with players he felt didn't have such a strong game in that 5-2 loss, which from the sounds of it is pretty much every single guy on the team except Maxim Lapierre, Guillaume Latendresse and Tom Kostopoulos.
In one day of meetings and another day of practice, Gainey has to convince his targeted players to buy in, to believe that they can still salvage this situation, to remember what made the team so dangerous last season and to forget what has made them so horrendous since mid-January.
January 20, to be specific, when a 4-2 loss in Atlanta started a 9-16-3 tailspin that has included two losing streaks of four games and now one of five, and has brought the Habs to the brink of disaster. A 2-0 loss in Atlanta also served as the final nail in the coffin for Guy Carbonneau. Now those same Thrashers are the Canadiens next scheduled visitors at the Bell Centre.
You would think the players would be able to find something deep within themselves to get up for that one, but you would have thought the same thing about the game in Ottawa Thursday and especially tonight's game against the Leafs. So it's entirely possible that the Canadiens demise in their 100th season will have been spearheaded by the Thrashers, and that would be lower than anyone could have imagined this team sinking.
Gainey better have some magical words for his players Sunday, because right now there's no reason to believe the Canadiens will be any better Tuesday than they've been the past two months.