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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens Newhook Injured In Poorly Officiated Panthers Game



Montreal Canadiens versus Floirda Panthers

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre on Thursday night, their first home game since leaving Quebec for a West Coast trip last week.

It was one of the Habs’ best starts of the month, but they faded down the stretch, losing 5-1 not with a bang, but with a whimper.

Let’s get straight to those highlights!

Out Of The Gates

I’ve been quite critical of the Canadiens’ inability to start games on the right foot this season, but it must be said that Martin St-Louis did a good job preparing his team to face a high-flying club like the Panthers.

The Habs could have had more scoring chances if they made better decisions on the rush, mind you.

There were several odd-man rushes that finished without a shot on net due to the team’s hesitancy to pull the trigger from the slot. It’s hard to remember the last time the Habs had almost a dozen odd-man rushes, but they failed to capitalize on most of them. On that note, Juraj Slafkovsky made a few questionable passes,  but he was also ignored when he was in the best position to score a goal during a 3v1.

Regardless, it was a good period for a team that tends to have difficult starts.

Zebra Troubles

The biggest complaint among hockey fans is almost always that inconsistency is the only consistent aspect of refereeing in the NHL. I tend to push back when it comes to criticizing the referees, but fans were proven correct in the second period when Mike Matheson took an interference penalty.

Take a look at the call.

It was a questionable call, to say the least, but the worst part of it was that Alex Newhook, who was tripped by Brandon Montour in a very similar situation, almost had to leave the game due to a leg injury in the first period.

It could have been much worse, and the Canadiens are lucky he quickly returned to the ice, but you can’t tell me Matheson’s play was worse than Montour’s.

The poor calls, or lack of calls went both ways. This high stick by Brendan Gallagher was ignored by the referees, even if it was rather blatant.

Gallagher was eventually penalized on a play in which the Panthers’ defenceman drove him into the goalie. Not a great call by any means, but given Gallagher’s history there was no way he was going to get the benefit of the doubt.

Another One Bites The Dust

Unfortunately, Newhook did have to leave the game after he ran into the Panthers’ net during an offensive rush. His foot got entangled and he needed help to get to the bench.

He could not put any pressure on his foot as he retreated to the locker room.


I don’t mean to bemoan Gustav Lindstrom’s play for the Habs since his call-up. Yes, the underlying numbers are quite poor, but no one expected him to play any type of meaningful hockey for the Canadiens this year in the first place.

In that sense, it’s hard to blame him for his usage, but he does have to be much more careful when it comes to his passing. His errant pass attempt in the second period led directly to the opening goal of the game.

If you take a look at the video, you can see that Alex Barkov knows what Lindstrom is going to do before Lindstrom knows what Lindstrom is going to do.

His anticipation and situational awareness are simply not up to snuff.

Some may request a player like Mattias Norlinder in the lineup rather than Lindstrom, and if he were right-handed I have no doubt it would have happened by now.

The Lighter Side

Josh Anderson had a good game, all things considered. He was hitting everyone that moved, drawing penalties, and even had a partial breakaway.

For now, he needs to get back to basics if he’s to find his rhythm, and Thursday night was a good start.

Anderson also proceeded to beat up an opponent in the dying seconds of the game.

Not A Prime Meet

Cayden Primeau did not have a good game. The Panthers identified his glove side as an area that would lead to goals, and they were correct.

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I don’t want to pile on too much, because it’s hard to blame a goaltender when a team is getting shutout. After all, it’s not Primeau’s job to score. It would also help if the Habs had any semblance of structure on their powerplays recently. As it stands, they haven’t scored on the last 23 powerplays.

But Primeau does need to do a better job making saves in situations where he has a clear line of sight.

Johnny On The Spot

The Canadiens did manage to find a way to get on the board, but it was too little too late. On the bright side, Johnathan Kovacevic scored his fourth goal in the last seven games, which is rather impressive. I don’t think I’d exchange his excellent defensive numbers from last season for his improved offensive impact this year, but Martin St-Louis does want to see his defencemen participate in more scoring plays.

It was also a very smart play by Cole Caufield to set up his teammate. Caufield had one of his best games from a playmaking standpoint on Thursday.

The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Saturday when they’ll face the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm ET.

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