The Montreal Canadiens started off strong, but went through some growing pains against the New Jersey Devils, who took the game by the score of 5-1.
It’s one of those games every rebuilding team eventually has to go through after a string of wins; a reminder that the road to sustainable success is a long and winding path.
The Canadiens came out roaring in the first period, largely dominating the Devils from a possession standpoint and testing Vitek Vanecek early; but the Devils’ netminder kept them in the game, and remained the backbone of the team for the rest of the game.
After weathering the storm, the Devils seemed to settle into their game and scored two quick goals in the second period to take the lead and leave the Canadiens scrambling in their own zone.
The Devils continued their momentum well into the third period, hemming the Canadiens in the defensive zone, shift after shift, and jumping on unforced mistakes to exert even more pressure.
Jake Allen did absolutely everything he could in this game, making multiple highlight-reel saves for the Canadiens, but the law of averages simply won out in this game.
The Montreal Canadiens are in a rebuilding phase and faced a team tonight that has seemingly finished theirs in the New Jersey Devils, and it showed.
Montreal has been consistently, if not surprisingly, good against some good teams in the league so far; but the Devils showed tonight why they’re one of the hottest teams in the league.
Their relentless forecheck and quick pace of the game forced the Canadiens to commit an uncharacteristically high number of turnovers, and the Devils capitalized at every turn.
The Canadiens seemed nervous with the puck the more the game went along, and more hesitant in their decision-making; causing a team that has wowed fans with their quick execution and offence-driven style to cough up the puck with ease.
For the Canadiens to take the next step in their process, they’ll need to add more pieces to this club that can execute rapidly and effectively under pressure, while also being able to get to the high-danger areas with more ease.
Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki have shown the ability to do so all season, but even they were effectively nullified tonight, showing that consistency in that department is still needed; albeit very close.
It’s a normal part of the process for a young team that’s looking to build toward the future.
Breaking the Ice
After coming close on multiple occasions, Evgenii Dadonov was finally able to benefit from a little bit of puck luck tonight.
The veteran forward was able to take advantage of a pass from Sean Monahan that bounced off a Devils defender and straight to Dadonov, who had an empty net to shoot at for the easiest tuck of his career.
It was a long time coming for the 33-year-old, as he was showing positive signs in the last couple of games he’s played since his virus and came close to scoring on multiple occasions.
It was a huge monkey off his back, and one the Montreal Canadiens hoped he solved soon, as they look to continue to help increase his value to rival teams.
Evgenii Dadonov gets a nice bounce and has his first goal as a Hab! pic.twitter.com/RqhmPmMH7o
— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) November 16, 2022