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Rebounds galore, Canadiens run out of steam in 5-2 loss to Bruins

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It would’ve been better on a Saturday night, but let’s all just take a moment to appreciate the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins doing battle once again.

Savour it. Enjoy it.

Alright. Let’s move on.

The Habs continued to show the character they were lacking early this season. Shorthanded and on the second night of a back-to-back, the Canadiens put up a fight early. But another shaky second period plus plenty of rebounds were pounced upon by the Bruins and gave them the 5-2 victory.

Army of one

There have been plenty of players who have disappointed en route to the Canadiens 4-11-2 start. But fresh off an impressive Cup run as a part of a fourth line that was crucial to the Habs success, much was expected of Joel Armia. Especially armed with a fresh four-year, $13.6 million dollar contract.

Sitting on one assist on the season, Armia picked a great time to score his first of the year. He can be a maddening player to watch at times because of the talent he showed eight minutes into the first period. On a 2-on-1 with Jake Evans, the Finn was looking for the shot all the way. He ripped a missile past Jeremy Swayman top shelf to give the visitors the 1-0 lead.

Considering that the Habs were playing the second of a back-to-back, the elevated energy level was a good sign for head coach Dominique Ducharme going into the middle period.

Number two

The Canadiens have been outscored 21-10 in the second period this season. It has easily been their worst period so far and the trend continued against the Bruins.

McLean's Pub

Samuel Montembeault, filling in for the injured Jake Allen, survived a barrage of shots the first ten minutes. But the story of the game for the Habs was the poor rebound control by their goaltender. He had some good moments no doubt. The best of which was a 2-on-0 save on Brad Marchand. But pucks continued to bounce off of Montembeault into high-danger scoring areas. The Canadiens defencemen did all they could to clear the rubber and humanity away from the slot. But eventually, a Taylor Hall shot from just inside the blueline was inexplicably pushed into the slot by the Habs goaltender. Charlie McAvoy came charging in from the point to and made no mistake to tie the game up at 1-1.

Michael Pezzetta put the Habs back in front before the period was over with a tip and a greasy deflection off the heel of Connor Clifton to surely send the Pezzeta posse into a delirious state. But it was clear there were goals coming for the home team.

Montem-blows it

Despite only surrendering one goal through forty minutes, it’s obvious that Montembeault was allowing far too many second chance opportunities to the Boston forwards. His positioning was all over the place and he was caught swimming in his net constantly. To put it bluntly, he didn’t project much confidence in the net.

It’s hard to find him at fault on McAvoy’s second of the game which would turn out to be the game-winner. In fairness, the puck went off Christian Dvorak’s stick on the power-play. But the Canadiens goaltender overcommitted wildly to one side of the net on the play.

Montembeault and his teammates were lucky that his mistakes didn’t cost them dearly to that point. But that luck turned just five minutes into the third. After giving up another juicy rebound off a David Pastrnak shot, Jeff Petry’s attempted clear deflected off of Charlie Coyle’s face and into the net. The Bruins third seemed to kill the Canadiens legs the rest of the way. Coyle added a second off of a bad line change and Taylor Hall added an empty-netter to put the Habs out of their misery.

The Habs will continue to monitor the health of Jake Allen as well as Jonathan Drouin and Mike Hoffman, who missed the game with an upper-body injury. If Allen can’t go, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cayden Primeau get his first start of the season Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Montreal Canadiens wrap up their three-game Original Six road trip against the New York Rangers.

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