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Canadiens Looking For Offensive Spark After 3-1 Loss To Wild

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens continue to struggle due to a lack of secondary scoring from their veterans, leading to a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild.

I was by no means a masterpiece on the ice, as both teams looked to be fighting the puck most of the night. The Wild were simply just a little more opportunistic than the Canadiens, in a game that was open for the taking.

Marc-André Fleury had his best game of the season, pushing back 26 of the 27 shots the Montreal Canadiens sent his way, on top of some highlight-reel saves on pucks deflecting on his own teammates. Meanwhile, Jake Allen kept the Canadiens in the game on multiple occasions, but ended up conceding two goals on 31 shots sent his way.

It was a frustrating game on many levels for the Canadiens, as they continue to struggle in the scoring department, especially on the power play. Head coach Martin St. Louis will have some work to do with his group to help them develop some better habits around the net and generate more high-danger scoring chances.

 

Ineffective Veterans

The Canadiens desperately need some secondary scoring from the veterans on this team if they’re going to have a chance of winning hockey games this year. As it stands, the youngest players on the club like Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki; along with Sean Monahan, are the ones driving the bus offensively and that is simply not a recipe for sustainable success.

The line of Brendan Gallagher, Christian Dvorak and Evgenii Dadonov has accounted for one goal in seven games so far this season, which is woefully insufficient. With youngsters like Jesse Ylönen and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard chomping at the bits in Laval waiting to receive a call from Kent Hughes, the Canadiens’ veterans should be leading the club forward, not holding them back from progressing as a team.

Perhaps it’s time to shake the lines up a bit, outside of the top unit, to get a spark going offensively.

Goal Caufield

Cole Caufield looked active tonight, playing sound hockey in all three zones. When in the offensive zone, he had a nose for the net, and has continued to use his shiftiness and quick feet to make space for himself when under pressure. His goal, albeit not his most spectacular, was created by using his quick edge to change direction on a dime to create space for himself and open himself up for a shooting opportunity that ultimately beat Marc-André Fleury.

The young forward has continued to pot the goals so far this season, adding a fifth goal in just seven games this season, all at even strength. He is now tied for third in the NHL in the goals category.

Power Play Woes Continue

The Montreal Canadiens continued to struggle on the power play again this evening, especially on the first wave. The top unit has shown a lack of execution and seems to lack any other form of strategy other than attempting the cross-ice pass for Caufield’s one-timer.

Chris Wideman, who plays the point on the 1st unit, fought the puck particularly hard tonight, as he was consistently missing passes from his teammates and often wasn’t ready to receive the puck after clean faceoff wins. The Canadiens aren’t moving the puck quick or convincingly enough to force the opposition to open up their coverage and expose passing lanes, and starts at the top of the formation.

Having Kaiden Guhle on the second wave of the power play has already helped that unit look a little more concise, as he’s quickly able to recuperate and distribute pucks. Perhaps a promotion for Jordan Harris, who has been the best Montreal Canadiens’ defenceman in terms of puck possession, could be a solution to help the 1st wave unblock some much-needed offensive punch.

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