Any hopes of the Canadiens riding their current hot streak into the playoffs appear to have been dashed Monday with RDS reporting that Mathieu Schneider's year is over and Andrei Markov will be out three weeks.
The Habs could ride out the rest of the regular season without their two top offensive defencemen and will probably still make the playoffs, but the likelihood of actually winning a round once in the playoffs is now slim, if not dead altogether.
Perhaps, just perhaps, this could serve as a rallying cry for the Canadiens and they can find another level to elevate to without Schneider and Markov, but I just don't see how that can happen.
If there was one player the Habs could ill afford to lose, it was definitely Markov, who logs the most minutes, plays in all situations and is clearly the team's best player. A similar injury to Saku Koivu, Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, Mike Komisarek or anyone else could have been absorbed, but not Markov.
Losing Schneider on top of Markov is the icing on the cake, a loss that makes it nearly impossible for the Canadiens power play to keep humming along as it has.
Check back after tonight's game against the Sens for player reaction to the news, that is if anyone on the Canadiens will be willing to confirm the news.
UPDATE: A Canadiens spokesman says the team will comment on the injury situation after the game tonight