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Postgame Poutine

Postgame Poutine: Canadiens Killer Skinner Has Five Points In 5-3 Sabres Win

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Montreal Canadiens

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner scored four times and added an assist in a 5-3 win that extended the winless streak to ten games for the Montreal Canadiens.

Tage Thompson scored the other Sabres goal and Alex Tuch had two assists. Sabres goalie Craig Anderson finished the game with 28 saves for the win.

For the Canadiens, Joel Armia, Jeff Petry, and Mike Hoffman all lit the lamp and Samuel Montembeault made 26 saves.

If the NHL divisions weren’t realigned in the 56-game shortened 2021 season and the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens played each other like they normally do, Skinner likely would’ve had more than seven goals.

GOLD STAR: Jeff Skinner – Skinner is simply a Habs-killer. With his four-goal, one-assist performance Sunday, Skinner now has 20 goals and 15 assists in 29 games against the Montreal Canadiens. The four lamplighters on Sunday gave Skinner a 20-goal season for the eighth time in his career. However, things have not gone as expected for Skinner and the Sabres since the forward signed an eight-year, $72 million contract prior to the 2019-20 regular season. The 29-year-old Skinner had just 14 goals in 59 games in his first season of the contract and then seven goals in 53 games of the second season in the deal. Clearly not playing the Habs last season really hurt his goal production!

 

TABARNAK: Jeff Petry – Yes, Petry has become a mainstay here. Yes, he scored a goal Sunday. There were also numerous candidates that could replace him here, namely the top line Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, and Tyler Toffoli, who all finished at a minus 2. However, it was once again the sloppy and almost nonchalant attitude of Petry that led to the game-tying and game-winning goals for the Sabres in a game that the Montreal Canadiens very much could’ve won. Petry finished at a minus 3 and was simply a mess in the defensive zone. He’s made it painfully obvious that he wants to be traded but until that happens, he has to set a better example for the younger Canadiens players trying to establish a mindset and culture for the future in Montreal.

 

TURNING POINT: The too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty that lead to Tage Thompson’s game-tying power-play goal at 18:24 of the second period was a momentum crusher. Joel Armia had just given the Montreal Canadiens their first – and what proved to be their only – lead of the game just 2:15 prior to that and if the Habs had been able to keep that lead heading into the intermission, they may have had a much better third period. It was evident though that at that point, they seemed to be asking themselves what next. Still to their credit, the Canadiens gave a strong effort in the third period despite surrendering two goals.

 

HONORABLE MENTION: Ryan Poehling – Since almost being a healthy scratch in Dominique Ducharme’s last game last Tuesday, Ryan Poehling has been playing with more confidence and using not just his skill but his hockey instinct to read the ice and plays he can develop with his passing. That led to an assist on Saturday and again on Sunday. Things may have not gone as planned the last few years for the former first round pick, but he seems to be adapting and figuring out a way he can contribute on a game-by-game basis. That led to a beautiful behind-the-back and through the legs pass to Armia for his goal that snapped his own 18-game goalless streak.

BY THE NUMBERS: Here’s how the Montreal Canadiens lined up at faceoff on Sunday:

Forwards

Cole Caufield-Nick Suzuki-Tyler Toffoli

Mike Hoffman – Paul Byron – Brendan Gallagher

Rem Pitlick – Jake Evans-Josh Anderson

Artturi Lehkonen – Ryan Poehling – Joel Armia

Defense:

Brett Kulak-Jeff Petry

Corey Schueneman – Alexander Romanov

Kale Clague-Chris Wideman

Goalies:

Sam Montembeault

Andrew Hammond

QUOTE TO NOTE: “With the concepts, I’m bringing, smart players are going to distinguish themselves. I don’t yet know how high Poehling’s (hockey) intelligence is, but I’m very encouraged by all the information I’ve collected on him to date.” – Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis on what he’s seen from Poehling so far.

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