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Montreal Canadiens

St. Louis & Allen Praise Young Defence, Preach Patience



Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis and goaltender Jake Allen praised their young defence and viewed their loss to Detroit as a teachable moment.

The game was difficult right from the start for the Canadiens, as the Red Wings were ready for their home opener and came out guns blazing in the first period and never looked back.

St. Louis admitted the Canadiens’ start was not ideal and their execution was sloppy, but was satisfied with the improvement throughout the game.

“More in the first period, but in the second we started getting opportunities, but not executing them well. In the third period, we had better execution, momentum and pace. We knew the first period was going to be tough. New coach, home opener; we knew what was coming, we just had difficulty handling it.”

What’s more, Kaiden Guhle was injured early in the first period and missed about a period of play after being checked into the boards. This forced Jordan Harris to take on a heavier portion of the defensive load, especially at even strength. Despite the added pressure, Harris performed well next to David Savard and showed good poise with the puck.

St. Louis praised Harris’ composure in the face of that kind of adversity, as he logged a career-high 21:28 minutes of ice time.

“Jordan is giving us good minutes,” said St. Louis. “And another positive was our penalty kill was good again tonight.”

Guhle, Harris and newcomer Jonathan Kovacevic all logged important minutes on that penalty kill and seemed to grow in confidence as the game went by. That positive trend was not lost on St. Louis, who’s looking to teach his young defensive corps how to thrive in their own zone before they can exert their desired transition game.

“This is a game we’ll learn from and be better for it,” said St. Louis of the valuable experience his youngsters are getting with major injuries to Joel Edmundson and Mike Matheson.

Even Jake Allen, who bailed out the Canadiens’ young defensive unit, believed that this is all part of the process; an opportunity for these youngsters to gain some valuable experience in the face of adversity.

“I’ve said it since the beginning of the year, this is an unreal opportunity for these guys,” said Jake Allen. “A few of these guys wouldn’t have an opportunity without injuries and that’s how guys get their shot in the league.”

As the Montreal Canadiens continue to prioritize development over the result, there are bound to be growing pains. What the organization, St. Louis in particular, is looking for are positive signs of progress; and they certainly showed some positive trends as the game went on.

The rest will come with time.

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Kovacevic is another really good waiver wire pick up.

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