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Kaiden Guhle’s Scores First NHL Goal In 3-2 Win Over Sabres

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Montreal Canadiens defenceman Kaiden Guhle

The Montreal Canadiens started their four-game road trip on the right foot, beating the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 at the KeyBank Centre.

Despite getting outshot significantly at 5v5, Samuel Montembeault kept his team in the game long enough for Kaiden Guhle to score his first career goal, as well as a late game-winning goal by Josh Anderson.

It wasn’t a pretty win by any means, but the most important goal was achieved as the rookie-laden lineup held the fort long enough to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Dikembeault

A quick glance at the shot attempts and scoring chances will reveal Samuel Montembeault’s brilliance throughout the entirety of the game.

The 25-year-old stopped 42 of the 44 pucks sent his way, which included no few than 20 high-danger scoring chances for the Sabres.

He kept the Canadiens in the game long enough to give them hope, and consequently a win, which is all you can ask for from a backup goalie playing behind an inexperienced blueline that tends to allow an unreasonable number of scoring attempts.

New York Hustle

The Canadiens opened the scoring thanks to a fortuitous bounce off Owen Power’s skate, Brendan Gallagher’s second goal of the season, and only the Canadiens’ second road goal of the year.

But it’s worth noting Gallagher, who epitomizes hard work and dedication, was not the player putting his body on the line prior to the goal.

It was Christian Dvorak’s excellent forecheck that led to the goal, an encouraging sign given his rather underwhelming production this season. Not only did he keep the play alive, but he also registered his first point of the season.

It was a good example for many other veterans struggling to produce: a little extra effort can lead to a lot more scoring opportunities.

Career First

There’s nothing quite like scoring your first NHL goal.

It doesn’t matter how it goes in, all that matters is you’ve put the stress of scoring your first behind you, allowing a greater focus on more pressing areas of concern.

However, Kaiden Guhle’s first career goal wasn’t just a well-deserved result for a young defenceman playing in a difficult situation, it was the type of goal that established veterans, particularly those with a heavy shot, score regularly.

Powerplay inefficiency

Often times you can point to bad luck to excuse a power play’s lack of scoring. But in the Montreal Canadiens’ case, the issues run much deeper.

Coming into the game against the Sabres the Canadiens ranked 29th in the league in terms of shot attempts with the man advantage, and despite producing a reasonable number of scoring chances with those shots, they simply had not generated enough shot volume to make life difficult on opposing players.

The power play units were slightly better on Thursday night, but inertia that seems to settle in every time they have an opportunity led to the Canadiens generating no high-danger chances with the man advantage.

It’s beyond time the overall system, which essentially boils down to finding Cole Caufield at all costs, is reviewed because the Canadiens are sapping all their momentum every time they put a listless power play unit on the ice.

At the very least, Jordan Harris or Guhle should be considered for a power-play quarterback assignment.

Mister Anderson

I’ve been rather harsh when analyzing Josh Anderson’s play this season, but it must be said he’s found another gear since the sleepy start.

He’s spent a lot less time rushing up and down the ice with reckless abandon and more time generating cycles and a heavy forecheck in the offensive zone, which has led to more high-quality scoring chances.

Anderson’s late third-period goal was the third goal scored by a player not named Caufield or Nick Suzuki, a much-needed influx of secondary scoring the Montreal Canadiens were looking for since the start of the season.

(All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick)

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