Trio Of Dach, Suzuki & Harvey-Pinard Shine Bright In 5-4 Loss
The Montreal Canadiens mounted an impressive comeback thanks to Nick Suzuki and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, but came up just short against the Ottawa Senators.
It was a much more competitive game than Saturday night’s tilt between the two clubs, as the Canadiens pushed back this time around after the Senators grabbed the first couple of goals.
Kirby Dach, Nick Suzuki and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard came to play against the Senators, as they wanted to head to the break with some momentum.
Suzuki played one of his best games in weeks; looking more combative in front of the net, all while setting up his linemates for some golden scoring chances.
The Canadiens’ top-line centre seemed to find his rhythm at even strength when head coach Martin St-Louis moved up Harvey-Pinard up to the top line instead of Rem Pitlick; and it proved to be a solid combination.
In one period together, the line of Suzuki, Harvey-Pinard and Josh Anderson was all over the ice; overwhelming the Senators defensively and putting a ton of pressure on Anton Forsberg.
Unfortunately, despite the Canadiens’ best efforts, Jake Allen had himself a pretty tough night; conceding five goals on 29 shots and posting a lowly 0.828 save percentage.
In the spirit of development and maintaining their place in the NHL Draft Lottery position, it was a game that represented the best of both worlds.
Your Canadiens game report below:
No Montreal Canadiens skater had a better month of January than Kirby Dach, and he capped it off tonight in a big way.
Dach walked into tonight’s game having registered five goals and four assists for nine points in his last 11 games in January. To cap off what has been an important developmental period for him of late, the former 3rd overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft decided to add another marker to his monthly totals, bringing his goal count to six.
The 6’4 pivot was one of the most noticeable players for the Canadiens every time he touched the puck; from his impressive zone entries, playmaking and strong play along the boards.
He continues to thrive at the centre position, despite an ever-changing cast of linemates and playing in some pretty dire times for the club right now.
He’s making the most of his time with the puck, driving to the high-danger areas with conviction and unafraid to get his nose dirty in front of the net.
Should he continue to play to this level, Dach’s progression into a top-six centre could be one of the bigger developmental achievements of the Canadiens’ new management staff.
MUST READ: Kirby Dach Gamble Paying Dividends For Kent Hughes
Kirby Dach with a gree-hee-heaaaaaasy one to get the #Habs within one. pic.twitter.com/RUs1c5ohe5
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) February 1, 2023
Flair For The Dramatic
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard has been the best story coming out from the Laval Rocket so far this season.
He’s taking full advantage of his call-up this season and is showing that he has no intention of taking the Orange line back to Laval once injured players return.
The diminutive winger has won over the Montreal Canadiens faithful with his relentless effort and never-say-die attitude.
The 24-year-old has put all the odds in his favour during his seven-game call-up, registering an impressive five goals and one assist for six points during that time.
His two big, third-period goals gave the Canadiens a chance to steal the game from the Ottawa Senators, who had controlled much of the game in the earlier two frames.
He’s proving to be a versatile player; being used regularly on the penalty-kill by Martin St-Louis; who also rewarded his young winger by having him out on the ice to end the game.
It’s a great sign of things to come for Harvey-Pinard, who’s right on the cusp of achieving his dream of becoming an everyday NHL player.
🚩Harvey-Pinard peut rêver. Est-il en train de se tailler une place avec le #CH
🚩Harvey-Pinard can dream. Is he carving out a place for himself with the #CH#GoHabsGo #NHL pic.twitter.com/ELRCggwJLB
— André Ménard (@samuelmj01) February 1, 2023
When the Montreal Canadiens start a game flat, they do it with impeccable style.
Not only has the team made a habit of conceding a goal early in the first period, they’ve also allowed a second goal within minutes on more than nine occasions so far this season.
Like tonight,’s game, it hurt their start in a big way; as the Canadiens start the game playing catch-up; forced to play to their opponent’s pace.
As seen below, the Canadiens started the game off well, but then saw a huge drop off in play after conceding two goals to the Senators within four minutes of play, and their even-strength game never truly recovered.
In fact, it got worse as the game continued into the second period; with the Canadiens relying on multiple power play opportunities to get their offensive chances in the game.
Thankfully, the Canadiens were able to claw their way back in the third period, but they ultimately fell short.
It’s an unfortunate trend that has hurt the Canadiens multiple time this season and something head coach Martin St-Louis is certainly going to want to fix as he readies his team for next season.
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My favourite part of tonight’s highly entertaining game happened after Barron had a brain fart and dangerously boarded DeBrincat, earning a deserved penalty. Of course the Sens scored on the powerplay, but the key for me was on the ensuing faceoff, St. Louis put Barron right back on the ice for the very next shift. That’s how you develop kids. That’s how you build up young players to not play scared of making a mistake. Everyone in the building knew Barron goofed, none more than he himself. But what better way to make sure he didn’t dwell on it on the bench or get inside his own head than to get right back on the ice and go out and try to create something to get the goal right back? Can you imagine this happening with Therrien as coach?! Not a chance. Would Julien stapled the kid to the bench? Definitely. Jacques Martin? Yep. St. Louis (and his staff like Robidas for the baby-faced D core) are the perfect guys to man the ship at this stage of the rebuild. Bravo to them for handling that situation the way they did. And, it’s not the first time I noticed it either. Xhekaj has taken a few bad penalties this season (especially earlier in the year) but there he was standing on the blueline for the faceoff at centre ice after the opposition scoring a PPG on more than one occasion. Seeing stuff like this gives me the hope that we’re finally going to do things the right way.