About Last Night: The Montreal Canadiens will finish last

Arizona’s overtime win means the Montreal Canadiens will finish 32nd in league standings no matter what happens Friday.

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Jeff Petry scored two goals, including the winner with 31 seconds left, as the Montreal Canadiens ended their nine-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

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Montreal’s win didn’t affect the standings as Arizona’s stunning overtime win over Dallas means the Canadiens will finish 32nd no matter what happens on Friday in the regular-season finale.

The playoff-bound Rangers rested most of their regulars, including Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Adam Fox, Andrew Copp and Mika Zibanejad. Kreider was awarded the inaugural Rod Gilbert ‘Mr. Ranger’ Award prior to puck drop. They also held a moment of silence for former Hab and Blueshirt Guy Lafleur.

For fans of round numbers, Nick Suzuki got his 60th point with an assist, while Christian Dvorak and Josh Anderson each got their 30th points on the same goal. Dvorak would get his 31st on the Petry winner.

Speaking of numbers, we’ll get to the NHL draft lottery math, because it was a hot topic in the Liveblog comments, as it has been ever since it was clear the Habs had a shot at first overall.

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But first, the game at hand. The lone goal in the first came with just over a minute remaining from Ryan Poehling. Michael Pezzetta dug out a puck from behind the net and centered to Poehling in front, who beat Alexandar Georgiev with a one-timer.

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It didn’t take long for the Rangers to tie it up 1-1 in the second. With five Habs players guarding the middle of the ice, Ryan Reaves’s shot somehow hit a stick and went past Samuel Montembeault for the equalizer.

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The Habs scored another late period goal to end the second, likely to dismay Rangers coach Gerard Gallant. Petry was given ample time to set up toward the dot and he fired a laser top corner with seemingly little space available to him to give the Habs a 2-1 lead.

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It was déjà vu in the third period, because the Rangers tied it up again just over four minutes into the frame. Cole Caufield lost it in the neutral zone, allowing Frank Vatrano to come in down the wing and fire a top corner blast past Montembeault. It was 2-2.

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At 12:08 of the third, Mike Hoffman scored his third goal in four games to give the Habs the lead once again. Suzuki’s cross ice pass gave him 60 points on the season.

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The Habs then went on the power play with the idea of ​​adding to their lead, only to watch it evaporate as Hoffman lost the puck in the offensive zone, allowing Barclay Goodrow to take it down the ice. He dropped it to Ryan Strome and he beat Montembeault from far out to make it 3-3.

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Petry extended his scoring streak to four games earlier in the night, and he potted his second with 31 seconds left to give the Habs a 4-3 victory in regulation. Petry has 10 points in his last 10 games.

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As you’ve now come to realize, the result of the game didn’t make a big difference in the grand scheme of things, although it will be nice for the players to not enter the offseason with a double-digit losing streak looming over them.

Now for the juicy lottery numbers. The Lotto Max this is not: there’s no Connor McDavid or Connor Bédard at the end of this tunnel, which is good because even though they’ll finish last, the Habs will only have a 25.5 per cent shot of landing the first overall pick. It’s called a lottery for a reason: to prevent teams from banking on tanking.

The professor of the Liveblog comments, Michael Way, explained the numbers:

I haven’t noticed it here (so you might fairly ask why I am raising the issue), but on several discussion boards I have seen a lot of confusion about the draft lottery, specifically the odds for the number 1 pick if you are the last place team. The reason for the confusion is that some sources state the odds that the last place team will win the first pick at 18.5% while others say 25.5%. Both numbers are correct because they refer to two different things. The confusion arises from a new rule this year that states that no team may advance more than 10 spots in the lottery. The only teams that could win the first overall pick by winning the lottery are the bottom 11 teams. If a team not in the bottom 11 wins the lottery, that team advances 10 spots and the 1st overall pick is then awarded to the last place team. So, the last place team wins the first pick overall in one of two ways: 1) They win the lottery outright (18.5% probability), 2) They don’t win the lottery but a team outside the bottom 11 does win the lottery (7% probability). Both percentages are therefore correct. There is an 18.5% probability the last place team wins the lottery and there is a 25.5% probability the last place team wins the first overall pick.

Got it?

In truth, in a draft without a clear-cut franchise-altering superstar, the benefit of finishing last is less about likely top pick Shane Wright and more about the guarantee that the Habs will draft either first, second or third. I know Habs fans are currently skittish about those third overall picks, but in this draft, there appears to be a top tier with 5-6 names to choose from. Given what the Habs currently have, one would imagine whoever they pick will immediately jump into the conversation of top three talents for the rebuild alongside Suzuki and Caufield.

If not Wright, then one of Logan Cooley, Simon Nemec, David Jiricek or Juraj Slafkovsky will probably be sporting bleu-blanc-rouge come July 23.

Some other strange thoughts from the game, courtesy of our Liveblog commenters.

3. “Caufield is going to have to learn how to protect the puck better in dangerous areas….” -Tom Xenn

2. “3 of the 4 teams left in the playoffs last year are going to miss the playoffs this year all 3 had lots of injuries this year.” -John Smith

1. “Is there only 1 more live blog? Can we cover the Leafs and trash talk them, lol?” -Chris James

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