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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Sunk By Poor Power Play & Weak Defensive Coverage

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Canadiens vs Sharks

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the San Jose Sharks at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night, resulting in a frustrating 4-0 loss for the home team.

Shockingly, the Canadiens controlled over 70 percent of the shots in the game, but they somehow managed to allow more high-danger scoring chances than they generated.

It was a choppy game which featured a litany of penalties and an unreasonable number of pucks intercepted by the referees, but the true story for the Canadiens was their listless effort on their many power play opportunities.

It should also be noted that first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky received a little over 11 minutes of ice time, which does represent a slight increase over his season average, but was also the second-lowest usage among all Canadiens players.

Edmundson Struggles

The Sharks quickly established a 1-0 lead, owing to some questionable positioning by veteran defenceman Joel Edmundson.

Edmundson is returning from an injury, and it would be rather harsh to dismiss his veteran presence in the locker room, but there’s no denying he’s struggled to acclimatize himself to the fast-paced concepts put in place by Montreal Canadiens head coach Martin St-Louis.

Regardless of who he’s played with, Edmundson has produced poor numbers, leaving a clear common denominator in the defensive equation.

Seeing as he’s allowed a few early goals this season, Jake Allen does need to find his rhythm a little earlier in the first period, but in this particular case he made the wraparound save, and the responsibility for the follow-up is squarely on Edmundson’s shoulders.

Keep a close eye on No.44 in the play. He doesn’t cover his player, nor does he shut down the high-danger passing lanes. It’s been a recurring theme throughout the season.

Starter Switch

According to the good ole eye test, it has not been an easy start to the campaign for Allen, and the statistics tell an even more worrisome story.

Only two other goalies in the NHL have saved fewer goals above average, with Allen allowing 8 extra goals compared to the projected average results.

The Canadiens owe Allen a debt of gratitude since he held the fort in very difficult situations, but it may be time to consider officially giving Samuel Montembeault the starter tag for the time being.

Montembeault has been better in every single relevant metric, and as a 26-year-old goaltender, it’s the right time to see if his results this season are simply the result of a hot run or the first signs of a goalie that may be able to produce sustainable results in a long term scenario.

The loss on Tuesday was not due to Allen’s poor play, far from it. But unlike his goaltending counterpart, he once again failed to keep the Canadiens in the game when they needed it most.

Man Advantage Disadvantage

Power play? More like a play with very little power.

Hey, if the Canadiens aren’t going to make an effort during their six power-play opportunities neither am I.

The power play once again featured the mobility and excitement of a drunken sloth.

The Canadiens are back in action on Thursday, as they head to Calgary to face former fan favourite Tyler Toffoli and the Flames. The puck drop is scheduled for 9 PM ET.


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

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