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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens Third Line Shines, Second Line Struggles Vs. Coyotes



montreal canadiens vs coyotes

The Montreal Canadiens faced the surging Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, hoping to earn their sixth win of the season in just their 10th game of the schedule.

The Habs started strong, but faded down the stretch, leading to a 3-2 Coyotes win.

If you’re still up after that late game, make sure to join the Game Over Montreal podcast, which goes live following every game. Here’s the link to join a great community of Habs fans for a post-game chat.

And now, let’s dive into the highlights.

Show Me The Monahan

Sean Monahan is a man on a mission.

Not only is he anchoring the third line, which is arguably the Canadiens’ best trio this season, but he also continues to drive the offence thanks to his excellent play in transition.

Monahan’s goal was a great example of how important it is to maintain control of the puck through the neutral zone, an area in which the Canadiens tend to struggle, especially without Dach in the lineup.

A stick tap goes out to Brendan Gallagher for his strong work to start the rush, as well as Tanner Pearson’s positioning to create chaos near Connor Ingram’s net.

Surprisingly, even though it was his sixth goal of the year, it was actually the first time Monahan scored during 5v5 play.

Offside Woes

The Canadiens appeared to take a 2-1 lead, but upon further review, it was clear they went offside before Nick Suzuki’s goal.

Regardless, it provided yet another example of what happens when you maintain control of the puck; high-danger scoring chances.

Unfortunately, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, who has featured on the top line with Suzuki in Cole Caufield recently, was hit awkwardly into the boards shortly afterward. Without trying to play doctor, speaking as someone who has had his fair share of knee problems, it did appear as if Harvey-Pinard was in significant pain as he limped off the ice.

The Canadiens announced Harvey-Pinard would miss the remainder of the game shortly after he retired to the locker room.

Allen Season

Jake Allen stated that he wanted to be given more starts this season, and though the ultimate decision comes down to head coach Martin St-Louis, there’s no denying Allen has done a great job building his case as the team’s No.1 goaltender.

He faced over 53 shot attempts, including a dozen high-danger chances.

If he keeps this up, his salary cap hit may not be such an obstacle when it comes to potential trades.

Second Line Struggles

I’ll keep this short and bitter: the second line is terrible and it’s beyond time St-Louis addresses the situation. There’s no chemistry, and all three players clash when it comes to their style of play.

As for the potential solutions, if Harvey-Pinard is out of action for any length of time, it may be time to give Juraj Slafkovsky an audition on the top line.

There’s really nothing to lose by giving him a chance to play with some of the team’s best players, and there’s a lot to gain by removing him from the second line, which has been detrimental to his development.

If the Canadiens cannot afford a top-line audition for their first overall pick, the AHL is the only destination that makes sense.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying he’s costing the team wins, but it’s clear that the NHL is not the right league for Slafkovsky at the moment, at least not in his current situation.

He’s not having fun out there, and it shows.

Once a player starts overthinking every single pass and shot, things only get worse.

It doesn’t matter what people will say about the AHL assignment, either.

Yes, there will be some (justified) criticism around the league, not to mention a bevy of jokes made at the team’s expense, but it’s a small price to pay when it comes to the development of such an important player.

Gallagher Resurgence

Brendan Gallagher has seemingly found the fountain of youth, and that’s nothing but great news for the Canadiens. Gallagher earned his 400th point in the NHL via a perfectly placed shot, not to mention a nice controlled entry by Newhook.

The powerplay goal tied the game at 2 late in the third, giving the Habs an opportunity to emerge from the desert with two points.

The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Saturday for another road game. They’re scheduled to face the St-Louis Blues. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.

All Montreal Canadiens statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted. Via Natural Stat Trick.

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10 games in, and where are RHP, Anderson, and Slaf? Zero goals between them, in 30-man-games played! Its not just Slaf, although he needs to go to the minors ASAP. More on him later…

The 2nd line is not good because Monahan is the only one doing anything. Even Newhook has cooled off. If this guy doesn’t cut it on the 2nd line and produce accordingly, then nice trade we make in giving up two picks in the late 1st and early 2nd…

And we can’t just blame the 2nd line. Who has done ANYTHING on that top line next to Nicki and CC? At this point Gally has earned a shot there by virtue of his performances so far…so give him a shot at the top spot for now.

If we traded Slaf right now, we may not even get a 1st rd pick. That will show you how far he has dropped. Perhaps, maybe, he was never that good to begin with and even in a weak draft from 2022, he still should have been a late 1st rd pick. Just like KK in 2018 should have been. Overhyped top picks are bad news. Logan Cooley has 8 pts in his first 10 NHL games. He was pegged as the one forward with the most talent in that draft. He will likely be better than Slaf in the end and HE was the one the Habs should have taken with that first pick. Hopefully, a good dozen games or slightly more in the AHL will serve him well, but if Slaf never becomes a decent 2nd liner, then it was a bust of a pick. Its 50-50 at this point.


Habs management have been preaching player development, I wish they’d heed their own advice and bite the bullet and send Slaf to Laval he could possibly play in the top 2 lines. Playing over 15 minutes a game. It’d be beneficial in the long run for him