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Canadiens Postgame

Monahan & Kovacevic Shine For Habs In Exciting Win Over Leafs



Montreal Canadiens defenceman Johnathan Kovacevic

The Montreal Canadiens were in Toronto on Monday to take part in their penultimate game of the preseason schedule.

After two straight losses to the Leafs, the Canadiens were hungry to finally earn their second win of the preseason, which they clinched due to an exciting comeback win.

Captain Nick Suzuki secured the 5-4 win less than a minute into overtime, but it was Sean Monahan and our favourite, Johnathan Kovacevic, who stole the show.

Let’s dive right into the action.

Anderson Always Ready

Not every veteran gives their all in preseason games.

For example, you could argue that Nick Suzuki has been holding back, and without trying to insult one of the most consistent and reliable players in recent Canadiens history, you’d probably be right.

But no one is going to blame the only player who featured in all 82 games last season for managing his preseason workload.

There are other players, however, who are champing at the bit, like Josh Anderson, who missed a significant part of last season after a dirty play by former Hab Mikhail Sergachev.

He wasn’t spectacular on Monday, nor were his linemates, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, but they did control the majority of the shots and scoring chances during 5v5 play, and they showed up when it mattered most.

They did not manage to generate one high-danger scoring chance until the final seconds of the third period when Anderson decided to score his third goal in three preseason games to tie the game.

To add some salt to the Maple Leafs’ wounds, the Canadiens completed the entertaining comeback early in overtime thanks to the best play of the game between Suzuki and Caufield.

As for the rest of the top six, the Kirby Dach, Juraj Slafkovsky, and Rafael Harvey-Pinard line was a little less impressive than in previous outings, though it should be said that the Canadiens struggled in general when it came to generating quality chances.

Only the Tanner Pearson, Brendan Gallagher, and Sean Monahan line managed to generate a high-danger scoring chance at 5v5 in the first 50 minutes of the game.

Mailloux Watch

As one of the last prospects at camp, a lot of focus will be put on the play of Logan Mailloux.

As usual, it was a mixed bag.

The good news is that statistically speaking, he played very well. When he was on the ice the Habs had a clear advantage in shots and scoring chances. The Habs were playing against a very good Maple Leafs roster, and putting up numbers that are well above 50 percent is a very encouraging sign for a young defenceman.

There were also a few failed breakouts that led to prolonged shifts in the defensive zone. You never want to see the opposing team’s fourth line dominate your lineup for half a minute.


Montreal Canadiens Special Teams

The Habs’ first two goals took place during special teams play, with Mattias Norlinder scoring a confidence-boosting goal from the blue line. It appeared that Sean Monahan had tipped it, but Norlinder was credited with the goal on the official scoresheet.

Monahan and Kirby Dach combined for a very nice shorthanded goal late in the second period, though it must be said that Johnathan Kovacevic was a crucial part of the play.

Always. More. Kovacevic

It must be said because I completely omitted his contribution in my initial tweet, which is a fireable offence for a card-carrying member of the Johnathan Kovacevic Fan Club.

Thankfully, Kovacevic allowed me to redeem myself. He scored an underrated, if not crucial goal with roughly six minutes left in the third period.

I know you’ve all had your fill when it comes to my endless praise for Kovacevic, and you probably want a break, but I’m going to do it anyway.

He’s unspectacularly spectacular, and that’s exactly what the Habs need on the blue line.

I officially proclaim him to be the new Brett Kulak, which is the highest honour I give out.

We need to stop discussing whether Kovacevic deserves a roster spot and move on to the more important question: where should the Habs play Kovacevic, their most successful right-handed defenceman last season, in the lineup?

The Montreal Canadiens have one more game left to play on the preseason schedule. They will face the Senators in Ottawa on October 11. In the meantime, they will head to Mont Tremblant for a team-building session, which will surely include lots of footage about Kovacevic’s god-like performance tonight.