Connect with us

Canadiens Analysis

Canadiens: Allen, Caufield, Gallagher Standout In Win Vs Capitals



Montreal canadiens jake allen

The Montreal Canadiens hosted Alex Ovechkin and the lowly Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre on Saturday night.

Despite recently losing important players like Kirby Dach and Kaiden Guhle, the Canadiens should still be able to pull together enough honest efforts to beat a struggling team like the Capitals.

It wasn’t exactly a battle of the Titans.

It was closer to what happens when a very moveable object meets a stoppable force. Perhaps a battle of drunken Titans best describes what went on at the Bell Centre.

But in the end, the Canadiens emerged as the best team, not to mention a 3-2 win.

Let’s dive right into the highlights.

Allen Shines

With all the attention given to the Canadiens’ goaltending situation, there’s a big opportunity for a player like Jake Allen to take the reins and establish himself as the team’s starter.

It will take more than one game, but Saturday night’s performance versus Ovechkin and the Capitals was a great start. Allen did not have to make an unreasonable number of saves, but he was in the right place at the right time when he needed to be, and he also held the fort during several high-danger scoring chances.

He did a pretty good job shutting down the greatest goal-scoring in NHL history. And before anyone complains about giving Ovechkin that title, we have to be honest with ourselves. Ovechkin has missed over 150 games due to various work stoppages. If not for greedy owners, Ovechkin would already be the NHL’s highest goal scorer, by a wide margin, too.

Speaking of Ovechkin, there was something off about his game.

He did not trust his own shot against the Habs, which is something I never thought I’d witness. He made several nice passes, and he was far from terrible, but he’s had better games when it comes to creating individual scoring chances.

He’ll still break Wayne Greztky’s record, but it may end up taking a little more time than originally anticipated.


All Your Penalties Belong To The Habs

We need to talk about the penalty situation, despite the win.

It’s reached a breaking point.

The Habs commit more fouls than an angry Ben Wallace who has surgically removed his hands and replaced them with chainsaws in an hommage to Bruce Campbell.

They somehow have less discipline than I do when I break into a Cinnabon at night only to be eventually kicked out and banned from yet another fast-food franchise in the morning.

They approach hockey games with the same reckless abandon of a drunken terrier chasing rats in a cornfield.

What I’m trying to say, is that even Bernie Madoff thinks the Habs have a hard time following the rules.

A Montreal Canadiens Powerplay Goal In This Economy?

The Habs were outshot but went into the first intermission with a lead thanks to a Sean Monahan powerplay goal.

Yes, you read that right, a powerplay goal!

For the first time in a very long time, the team did a great job forcing the opposing goalie to reset, which created a chaotic situation in front of the net.

Two great passes from Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, respectively, sealed the deal.

It’s much too early to say the powerplay is fixed, and they clearly struggled at times, but at the very least, it seems like the time they spent practicing the man advantage has somewhat paid off in the short term.


A Gallagherian Goal

Brendan Gallagher’s first goal of the season couldn’t have epitomized his style of play anymore if it had been scripted by underpaid Hollywood writers.

And I’m not talking about Gallagher finishing the play by closely inspecting the opposing team’s net. That’s a classic Gallagher play as well, but what really caught my attention was his play in the defensive zone prior to the goal.

His smart positioning provided Mike Matheson with an outlet option when he needed it most. He was being pressured, and the play was at risk of becoming a turnover before Gallagher dropped low to give support.

It was his 396th point in the NHL, which is rather impressive when we consider that Gallagher was a fifth-round pick who was not expected to ever earn a job in the league.

I know many fans have soured on Gallagher recently, and yes, his contract is an issue, but it’s always good to remind ourselves that he was once one of the most underrated players in the NHL for a very good reason: he isn’t afraid to put his body on the line to get the job done.

It’s also worth noting that Monahan continues to enjoy a quiet but solid start to the year. He’s slowly becoming Dach-lite, and that’s great news for the Habs.

Caufield Magic

Sometimes life shines on you.

And other times, you end up scoring the game-winning goal just a few seconds after you attempted to make a line change in overtime.

Matheson and Suzuki’s quick passes up the ice gave Caufield no choice but to call an audible. It was the right decision, as the team’s best sniper made no mistake, ending the game in overtime.


The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Monday when they head to Buffalo to face Tage Thompson and the Sabres. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

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