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Canadiens Highlights

Sidney Crosby Reminds Montreal Canadiens He’s Not Done Yet



Montreal Canadiens vs Pittsburgh Penguins

The Montreal Canadiens hosted Sidney Crosby and the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre on Wednesday night.

It was a battle of two teams trying to establish an identity. The Penguins are trying to cling onto their last opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup, while the Canadiens are attempting to become a team that’s difficult to play against amid their rebuild.

It was the Penguins who emerged with a 4-3 win thanks to an excellent game from Crosby and a little luck in the shootout.

Let’s take a look at those highlights!

Welcome Back, Dave.

Veteran David Savard opened the scoring for the Habs after intercepting a rather questionable pass by Penguins defenceman Erik Karlsson.

Karlsson has been playing very well for the Penguins, but there’s always a risk that one of his lackadaisical plays ends up in his own net, as was the case on Wednesday night.

Savard used perfect shot placement to beat Alex Nedeljkovic and give the Canadiens an important 1-0 lead.

Montreal has struggled in first periods this season, more often than not letting their opponents score the first (and second and third) goal. Savard’s goal meant that the team was not playing catch-up from the very get-go.

The early lead allowed players like Jayden Struble a little more freedom when it came to joining the rush. We’ve seen Struble play a reserved brand of hockey in his own zone since his call-up from the AHL. It was a wise approach. His quick puck retrievals and short-pass breakouts have led to a plethora of scoring chances for his teammates.

MUST READ: Jayden Struble’s Excellent Start To His NHL Career

But now that he’s a little more comfortable, we’re seeing some of what made him a great defencemen for Northeastern. He can join the rush with the best of them, as we saw when he scored the Canadiens’ second goal of the game.

We should also note that Jesse Ylonen tends to create chances every time he’s on the ice. He does not receive many opportunities, but he does quite well with the few shifts he’s given.

Power In The Play

Sidney Crosby scored shortly afterward, cutting the lead to 2-1. He pressured Kaiden Guhle and then finished the play by capitalizing on the loose puck.

Guhle has gone through a rather difficult stretch lately. He’s far from the elite defenceman we saw in the lineup to start the year. It’s a good reminder that he’s only 21 years old and he still has a lot to learn in the NHL.

Shockingly, it was only Crosby’s 60th point against the Canadiens in his 47th game. It feels like he has three or four points every time he faces the Habs, but I digress.

The good news for the Canadiens is that they did not rest on their laurels. They even scored a powerplay goal thanks to a Mike Matheson point shot and a great tip by Nick Suzuki, who was creating havoc in front of the Penguins’ crease.

Sean Monahan cleaned up the play, scoring his ninth goal of the year and the fifth on the power play.

The goal ensured that the Canadiens entered the first intermission with a lead for only the seventh time this season.

As an aside, Matheson has looked much better since Savard returned to play. Savard is a significant upgrade on Gustav Lindstrom.

Second Period Implosion

The Habs may have played well in the first period, but it was the polar opposite situation in the second.

Perhaps it was not a great idea for the Canadiens to poke fun at Crosby ahead of the game.

Regardless, the 36-year-old assisted on Jake Guentzel’s 13th goal of the year before scoring his second goal of the game. The Canadiens were lucky to emerge from the second period with a tie, as Crosby seemed to have scored his hat-trick goal in the dying seconds of the frame, but there was no time left on the clock.

Endless Shootout

The Canadiens eventually lost in the shootout after roughly 13 shots from each side had their chance. It should be noted that Cole Caufield did, however, manage to score a nice goal.

GIF Of The Game

Once again, Josh Anderson had plenty of great scoring chances, but he failed to score because he seems to be cursed.

I will say this, it’s getting tiring to see segments on RDS and Sportsnet regarding Anderson’s ‘excellent play’. The fact of the matter is that he’s not playing well. He’s last on the team in several key statistical categories, and he’s a huge drag on results whenever he’s on the ice.

Yes, he should have more goals, but if he were any other player he would not have been given this much leeway. Other players would have gotten the same scoring chances if given the opportunity, and there are pretty good odds they would have scored more than once this year.

His shooting percentage should be higher, but his ice time should be much lower. He’s gotten all the opportunities possible and yet he’s still not providing anything of value to the Canadiens.

When Anderson is on the ice, the Montreal Canadiens are outplayed, significantly. Few players around the NHL have his type of negative impact on results.

The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Saturday. They will face the New York Islanders 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.