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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Fall, Improve 2023 Draft Odds In 4-0 Loss To Kraken

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens were out of this game almost as quickly as it began, with the Seattle Kraken jumping to a 3-0 lead early and coasting the rest of the way to an easy 4-0 victory.

It’s one thing to tank, but it’s another thing entirely to play such a disjointed game after now being home for the better part of a week.

The Canadiens couldn’t follow up their strong performance against the St. Louis Blues, as the Kraken owned the middle of the ice and made the Canadiens pay for their costly mistakes in the defensive zone.

The lack of defensive structure and a stifled transition game of late have made the Canadiens one of the worst teams in the NHL since late November; and that’s great for the pro tankers out there.

The 2023 NHL Draft is shaping up to be one for the ages, and the Canadiens have the Florida Panthers’ 1st-round pick, on top of their own, to select two very promising youngsters.

That being said, there’s no excusing a team effort like tonight. If the Canadiens are going to have an environment conducive to proper development, then something is going to have to give.

 

Early Bird Blues

The Montreal Canadiens have had difficulty starting games on the right foot as of late, and tonight was nothing new, as Seattle completely dominated the first period with great ease.

During that time, the Kraken controlled the flow of the game and, most importantly, the slot. The Canadiens allowed them too much space in the high-danger area and allowed three goals against in a span of nine minutes in the opening frame.

Not only did they have 19 shots registered to Montreal’s meagre six shots, the Canadiens only controlled 33% of chances in the 1st period and sported a shockingly low expected goal differential of 37% (anything under 50% is considered bad),

Slow starts have become a nagging issue for the Canadiens this season, as they no longer have the gas to stage the incredible comebacks that had become the standard at the start of the season.

 

The Expendables

The Canadiens’ third line of Joel Armia, Jake Evans and Evgenii Dadonov was easily their best line, for a second consecutive game.

All three ranked in the top 3 in terms of possession, expected goal differential and high-danger chance generation. Simply put, they did what any sensible third line should do.

Jake Evans played like a man possessed in tonight’s game, playing a very physical and chippy game; looking angry on the ice with each stride.

Not only did this line create offence, but it also created some excitement, especially when Evans dropped the gloves after a heated team squabble in the corner in the 3rd period.

It’s coming at a perfect time too, as Dadonov and Armia are some of the veterans that the Canadiens are hoping can pick up their game as we get closer to the NHL Trade Deadline.

Baby Steps

Of all the Montreal Canadiens forwards in tonight’s game, Juraj Slafkovsky looked the hungriest.

He was flying up the ice with some much-needed conviction and wanted, nay, demanded the puck from his teammates in order to get shots off or make plays.

It was a show of emotion and conviction from the Canadiens rookie that we’ve been waiting to see for roughly a month now, as the youngster had himself a very difficult end of 2022 and has had an equally difficult 2023 to start.

Games could be looked back on positively for him, as Slafkovsky played his game tonight and was a visibly involved member of the game.

In a sea of uninspired play, his burning desire to make a difference helped him stick out in a positive way, as the Canadiens look to continue bringing along their youngsters to prepare them for a brighter future.

Whether that process continues in Laval or Montreal is up for management to decide; but they need to make one sooner than later.

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Jake

Need to unload Drouin, Hoffman, Edmunson, Dandinov

Tyrone

LOVED Jake Evans tonight. He’s playing the best hockey of his career right now.

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