The Montreal Canadiens went toe-to-toe with the Vancouver Canucks almost all game, but horribly-timed turnovers in the third period proved too costly to overcome. The Canucks played a very strong game, controlling the pacing and possession of the puck for the majority of the tilt, while Montreal was able to capitalize on the few chances they produced. Unfortunately, the law of averages caught up to the Habs and Vancouver was able to gain the advantage in the third period due to a beautiful individual effort from JT Miller.
The Canucks have been a much improved team under new head coach Bruce Boudreau. They were able to use their strong depth at centre to overmatch the Montreal Canadiens in tight situations and control well over 50% of puck possession all game, limiting the Habs to just 11 scoring chances. The Canadiens left Elias Pettersson and Miller too much room to maneuver in the neutral zones. They took advantage tonight, both potting dagger goals in the third period to secure the win for Vancouver.
The line of Artturi Lehkonen, Jake Evans and Rem Pitlick was by far the best trio for the Canadiens last night, playing with speed and tenacity. Lehkonen and Pitlick led the charge for the Canadiens offensively, putting up three points each and playing a sound, two-way game in a valiant effort.
Goaltender Samuel Montembeault didn’t have his best outing, allowing four goals on 32 shots. The Pettersson and Miller goals stick out the most as goals he’d like to have back, both coming from well outside the high-danger areas and ultimately costing his team the game. They were perfectly placed shots from two of the best shooters in the Western Conference, but, any time you get scored from above the circles without any traffic, any goaltender would want to have that back. It was certainly not all on Montembeault, who wasn’t properly insulated by his defense, as they conceded a whopping 31 scoring chances to Vancouver last night at 5 on 5. It was indeed a learning experience for head coach Martin St. Louis and his team.
Here’s your MHN Postgame Poutine:
GOLD STAR: JT Miller– Miller was the best player on the ice last night, putting up a goal and three assists in the game and playing over 20 minutes for the Vancouver Canucks. He set the pace from them all game, making slick and intelligent passes while also being able to make short work of the Canadiens’ less-than-ideal centre depth at the moment. Miller factored into every single goal allowed by Montembeault, providing the spark for the Canucks each time the Canadiens would show signs of life.
Un 6e point en 5 matchs pour Lehkonen.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) March 10, 2022
TABARNAK: Jeff Petry 3rd period turnover. – Petry has been playing much better under St. Louis, but his turnover at 3:44 in the third period proved to be costly, as JT Miller was able to pickpocket him and head into the defensive zone on a breakaway while the game was deadlocked at 2-2.
TURNING POINT: JT Miller’s incredible solo effort – When Miller was able to trap Petry in the neutral zone and poke the puck loose, you just knew he was going to capitalize on that turnover. Miller stole the puck, entered the offensive zone and fired a laser from the top of the circle to beat Samuel Montembeault and give the Canucks the lead at 3-2. This would prove to be the dagger for the Montreal Canadiens, as the Canucks quickly added a 4th goal soon after on the powerplay and ultimately could not muster a comeback.
HONORABLE MENTION: Artturi Lehkonen– Lehkonen continues to play some of the most inspiring hockey of his career. He continues to play an honest and effective game in all. Lehkonen now has eight points over his last five games, which is sure to catch the eye of contending teams leading up to the NHL Trade Deadline.
BY THE NUMBERS: Here’s how the Montreal Canadiens lined up Wednesday night:
Cole Caufield-Nick Suzuki-Josh Anderson
Mike Hoffman – Laurent Dauphin – Brendan Gallagher
Rem Pitlick – Jake Evans – Artturi Lehkonen
Päul Byron – Ryan Poehling – Joel Armia
Alexander Romanov – Ben Chiarot
Brett Kulak-Jeff Petry
Kale Clague -Chris Wideman
QUOTE TO NOTE: ”It’s not the first season that my name has been dropped, so I know the reality of the situation, but it’s out of my control and I can’t do anything about it ” – Artturi Lekhonen on his name showing up in NHL trade rumours
PICKED HIS POCKET 🚨 pic.twitter.com/uGsWaxUc2E
— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) March 10, 2022