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Kaiden Guhle Saves Canadiens From Shutout Against Lightning

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Canadiens vs. tampa

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night in what can only be described as a challenging outing for the home team.

Arber Xhekaj added a win to his fight card, and thanks to yet another Nick Suzuki goal, the Canadiens avoided the shutout, but ultimately fell 5-1 to the Lightning.

Green Blueline

We’ll start with the positive aspects of Saturday night’s game.

Kaiden Guhle and Jordan Harris once again drove offence from the blueline, displaying the type of creativity and confidence that is rare among rookies.

Suzuki’s 15th goal of the season was assisted by Guhle, who continues to lead Canadiens defencemen in scoring with 12 points.

More accurately, Guhle gifted Suzuki’s 15th goal of the season, thanks to some fantastic anticipation, solid legwork, and smooth hands.

First Line Woes

On paper, Josh Anderson may seem like a logical choice to play alongside Suzuki and Cole Caufield on the top line, but in reality, the Canadiens’ best duo shuts down the moment Anderson is added to the mix.

Coming into the game against the Lightning, the Caufield, Suzuki, and Anderson combination had controlled just 36 percent of the shots, 22 percent of the expected goals, and a little over 11 percent control of high-quality scoring chances.

The top line’s terrible start was the epitome of predictable.

Within just a few minutes at 5v5, they had allowed two goals against and fell below 2 percent of expected goals. Things improved throughout the game, but it’s only fair to say the bar was so low that the Official Limbo Association of Canada would claim it defeats the spirit of their game.

Instead of Anderson, the Canadiens should try…

Anyone. Literally anyone.

Statistically speaking, the odds another player would yield worse results on the top line are quite small.

There’s a dearth of centres in the lineup due to Sean Monahan’s injury, but the Canadiens can’t keep neutering their best players. A little creativity from Martin St-Louis is in order because his leading scorers are getting buried in recent games.

Power Play Woes

The power play continues to be awful.

There’s not more to talk about, because the Canadiens can hardly string a series of two passes together when they’re on the man advantage.

The word shambolic comes to mind.

Big Reason Behind Canadiens Power Play Struggles, Possible Fix

 


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

 

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