So far, though, he’s stayed on the outskirts.
The Canadiens, who ranked just 22nd in the league in offense during the regular season, will hope to see some semblance of the Gomez that produced close to 60 points the last two seasons rather than the center that put up just 38 points (seven goals) this season.
Like most players that have a dreadful regular season, Gomez is looking at the start of the playoffs — which the Canadiens open Thursday night against the Bruins at TD Garden — as a clean slate.
In speaking with Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette, Gomez didn’t sound like a player who has any idea who things went so wrong this season.
From The Gazette:
“It was a learning experience because I never went through anything like that. It would be easy to say I was out of shape or injured but I can’t pinpoint it. You miss a lot of empty nets but this year it’s like I was Chuck Knoblauch and I couldn’t throw to (first) base.”
Knoblauch never solved his throwing problem. The Bruins have to hope Gomez doesn’t figure out his scoring struggles.
While a lot of focus in this series will be on the goaltender battle between Carey Price and Tim Thomas, that match-up is pretty much a wash. This series is going to be decided by which team’s forwards pay the price and which team’s defense moves the puck with the fewest mistakes.
One of the ‘X’ factors will be if Montreal gets any offense from Gomez. The Bruins would be wise to not take their eyes off the speedy, shifty center.