That would be that the team is going to the playoffs at all.
In spite of losing Andrei Markov for most of the first half of the season, in spite of losing Brian Gionta, Mike Cammalleri, Benoit Pouliot and Andrei Kostitsyn for big stretches, in spite of needing to find some cohesion among a group of disparate players brought in through free agency and trade and in spite of needing to adjust to a new coach with a very rigid style.
The Canadiens are in the playoffs when there would be no reason to believe they should be, and even though there was a time many moons ago when simply making the playoffs wasn't good enough, that era is long gone. The greatest evidence of that came Saturday night, with the Canadiens clinging to a 3-3 tie with the league's 29th ranked team, and the Bell Centre crowd rose to its feet to will its team to overtime and the playoff berth that came with it. Then, when Cammalleri and Pouliot each hit posts before Dion Phaneuf ended it with a stoppable shot that got past Jaroslav Halak, the team gathered at centre ice to salute the crowd and take a bow.
And good for them, because making the playoffs in the modern NHL is not a given, and I think people need to realize that. Just ask the Leafs.
But, and you knew it was coming, the playoffs will be no easy task for a team that comes in looking very mediocre. Looking very much like a non-playoff team.
Halak lost his third straight game, the first time that has happened all season, and what once looked like a closed debate now appears to be open again. I still think Halak will get the start in Game 1, but after looking like the situation was a bit too serious for him Saturday night, I don't think his leash will be very long. Another loss, and Carey Price gets the call.
Another problem is the play of Andrei Kostitsyn and Benoit Pouliot, neither of whom seemed to want to raise their level of intensity one iota to match the gravity of the games the Habs had this week. How these guys can watch a guy like Brian Gionta get murdered while he fights for space in front of the opposing net and not want to match that level of compete is beyond me. The more I watch Gionta play, the more I believe he should be captain of the Canadiens even though I've been an Andrei Markov guy all along. He is relentless. It's just too bad not enough of his teammates are.
Those aren't the only problems here, just the main ones, and we have a few days to pick them all apart. But remember, the only reason we're still talking about this is that the Canadiens have qualified for the big dance. That still means something, like it or not.