Another flat start did the Montreal Canadiens in and they chased the Minnesota Wild for the rest of the game in a night to forget and an 8-2 loss Monday in Minnesota.
With the loss, the Canadiens’ three-game point streak was snapped and they finished their seven-game road trip at 1-3-3. The Habs will now return to Montreal for the first-ever eight-game homestand at the Bell Centre. Sadly, for the foreseeable future, there won’t be fans there to cheer the Montreal Canadiens on.
While he was far being the main reason the Montreal Canadiens got shellacked, goalie Cayden Primeau looked a lot like the goalie that got pulled after the second period a week ago in Arizona when he allowed four goals on 16 Coyotes shots. Primeau got the hook again after the second and Michael McNiven struggled just as much in his first NHL appearance, if not more, allowing four goals on seven shots.
The Habs got goals from Mike Hoffman and former Wild forward Rem Pitlick.
Eight Wild players finished with multi-point nights on Monday. Nico Sturm (1g, 2a), Matt Boldy (1g, 1a), Kevin Fiala (1g, 1a), Jared Spurgeon (1g, 1a) Alex Goligoski (2a), Connor Dewar (1g, 1a), Mats Zuccarello (1g, 1a), Kirill Kaprisov (2a), and Jordan Greenway (2a). Former Montreal Canadiens defensemen Jordie Benn and Jon Merrill also got in on the fun with Benn lighting the lamp and Merril getting a helper.
Wild goalie Cam Talbot left the game after the second period and stopped 14 of the 15 Montreal Canadiens shots he faced. Kaapo Kahkonen relieved him for the third period and stopped five of six shots from the Habs.
GOLD STAR: Nico Sturm – As mentioned above, Sturm finished with a goal and an assist and that was actually the first three-point game of his career. Sturm, who now has three multi-point games since entering the NHL in the 2018-19 season, was electric all night. He was a presence every time he touched the ice and had the Montreal Canadiens seemingly worried about where he was. Sturm now has seven goals and eight assists 38 games this season.
— Hockey Daily 365 (@HockeyDaily365) January 25, 2022
TABARNAK: First Period – Once again the Montreal Canadiens were flat off the opening faceoff and chasing the game after the first period. The Canadiens were out-shot 21-8 in the opening frame and trailed 2-1 in the first intermission. Unlike some other games on this road trip, where they caught up on the shot clock and at times the scoreboard, in the second period, and the game, the Habs never found their stride in this one. They were outshot 11-7 in the middle frame and entered the second intermission down 5-1 after being outscored 3-0 in the second period. The Montreal Canadiens ended up being out-shot 150-57 and outscored 16-3 in the first period during this seven-game road trip.
Tabarnak 2: Spurgeon Head Shot On Dvorak
Wild fans and media that cover the team are steadfast that their little choir boy Jared Spurgeon could never intentionally hit someone on the head but any objective hockey fan or media can call this what it is, an accidental-on-purpose headshot by Spurgeon on Christian Dvorak in the first period that knocked Dvorak out of the game. It was quite comical to see tweets from well-respected journalists like Michael Russo call out Josh Anderson for trying to answer the bell for his teammate and go after Spurgeon.
Ryan Hartman goes after Josh Anderson after Anderson spent the shift taking runs at guys. Gutsy game by him going after the likes of Zuccarello and Spurgeon
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) January 25, 2022
Here’s the headshot from Spurgeon:
— Corby (@corbyhkycentral) January 25, 2022
TURNING POINT: Dewar and Sturm 22 Seconds Apart – As mentioned above, the Montreal Canadiens have had plenty of rough starts over the course of this seven-game road trip. Obviously throughout this miserable season, at least on this road trip, they’ve bounced back in the second period more often than not. That was not the case on Monday and it was basically all downhill after Dewar and Sturm scored 22 seconds apart at 4:01 and 4:23 of the second period. Each of them assisted on each other’s goals as well.
CONNOR DEWAR FIRST NHL GOAL pic.twitter.com/vy34iN8qa5
— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) January 25, 2022
HONORABLE MENTION: Alex Goligoski – Many questioned Wild GM Billy Guerin when he signed the 36-year-old Goligoski to a one-year contract that carries a $5 million cap hit, and some that haven’t followed the Wild closely this season, may have done a double-take when they saw that Goligoski is on the Wild’s top d-pairing with Spurgeon. Well, hopefully, his performance Monday erased those question marks because he showed he is still one of the better offensive defensemen in the NHL with two assists and a plus 4 rating. He may be on the wrong side of 30 but Gologoski’s game still fits the up-tempo game of the Wild and the NHL in general. Look at the way Goligoski moves it around the perimeter here and eventually sets up Spurgeon for the goal 3:04 into the first period.
Jared Spurgeon winds up and buries it for your Shot of the Night!
— NHL (@NHL) January 25, 2022
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Obviously I didn’t like the hit [on Dvorak]; saw it once on the replay quickly but it looked like he clipped him pretty good in the head. When you lose a teammate, especially a pretty important one for the rest of the game, you got to let players know and that’s what I tried to do…just trying to show a little emotion.” – Josh Anderson on why he sought out Spurgeon with five ticks left in the second period and subsequently fought Ryan Hartman.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Here’s how the Montreal Canadiens lineup looked for faceoff Monday in Minnesota.
Artturi Lehkonen-Nick Suzuki-Tyler Toffoli
Laurent Dauphin – Christian Dvorak – Mike Hoffman
Rem Pitlick-Jake Evans-Josh Anderson
Michael Pezzetta-Ryan Poehling-Cedric Paquette
Ben Chiarot-David Savard
Brett Kulak-Jeff Petry
Alexander Romanov-Chris Wideman