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GOTTA SEE IT: Samuel Montembeault Robs Zibanejad In Shootout



Montreal Canadiens goalie Samuel Montembeault

The Montreal Canadiens have received excellent goaltending from Samuel Montembeault this season.

In fact, you could easily argue he’s the only reason they’re not at the bottom of the NHL standings. The Canadiens are a bottom-five team in most metrics, including expected goals.

But they have received some of the best goaltending in the NHL this year, and Montembeault is the driving force behind that ace in the hole.

Montembeault was back to his old tricks on Saturday night when the Canadiens hosted the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre. He made over 40 saves, including 10 high-danger saves at 5v5.

He also made several great saves in overtime, not to mention two saves in the final seconds of the extra frame.

Simply put, Montembeault put on a clinic, as has been the case throughout the season.

But he saved the best for last, as evidenced by his fantastic stick save on Mika Zibanejad in the shootout. Zibanejad attempted a ‘Forsberg’, but was denied when Montembeault swept the puck aside with his paddle.

The Canadiens emerged with a 4-3 shootout win, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue they would have even made it to overtime without Montembeault’s heroics.

The Zibanejad robbery was yet another example of how valuable Montembeault has become to the Montreal Canadiens. The 27-year-old netminder a three-year contract extension this summer that carries a $3.15 million annual average value, well below the market value for one of the best starting goaltenders in the NHL.

Heading into Saturday night’s game, Montembeault ranked sixth in the NHL in terms of goals saved above expected at 5v5. His numbers will surely improve following his dominant performance against the high-flying Rangers.

Some fans may malign the idea that Montembeault is being helpful in the rebuild. Without him, the Canadiens would have better odds at drafting a better play. But in these types of situations, it’s best to sit back and simply enjoy the show.

After all, surprising performances are what sports are all about.