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Canadiens Samuel Montembeault Steals Points Versus Rangers



Montreal CAnadiens vs New York RAngers

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the New York Rangers on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in a classic ‘original six’ matchup. Okay, the Canadiens are the only real original six team left in the NHL, but we can delve into that topic later.

The Habs played well, all things considered. The Rangers have Stanley Cup hopes, whereas the Canadiens are in the midst of a rebuild. New York also has much more talent in the lineup, therefore simply pushing the game to overtime can be seen as a moral victory for the home team.

Samuel Montembeault had yet another excellent game for Montreal, making over 10 high-danger saves at 5v5. He also made a handful of great saves in overtime when the Rangers were in control of the game, as well as several great saves in the shootout, including this excellent game-saving play against Mika Zibanejad.

Let’s dive into the rest of the highlights of the Canadiens’ 4-3 shootout win.

A Country For Old Men

The Canadiens got off to a great start thanks to an excellent pass by Jake Evans. He found a streaking Brendan Gallagher in a high-danger scoring area, and the hard-working winger made no mistake.

It was Gallagher’s first goal in 25 games, and that’s sure to act as a motivating factor for the veteran, but it’s not as if he’s having a terrible year when we consider his underlying numbers.

Gallagher won’t score as often as he once did, and his contract won’t ever be a bargain, but when he’s on the ice the Habs control the shots, high-danger chances, and expected goals. That’s still noteworthy when considering his value.

We also have to keep in mind Gallagher’s previous contract was one of the best value deals in Habs’ history, which means things are evening out, but that’s a little harder to accept now that he’s making much more money.

Money Man

Sean Monahan and Jesse Ylonen combined to make it 2-0 for the Canadiens a little over a minute into the second period. Coming into the game I expected Monahan to act as the catalyst for more offence from both Ylonen and Emil Heineman due to his excellence in transition. The combination seemed obvious from the very get-go.

The scoring play didn’t exactly unfold the way I predicted, but it’s encouraging to see Martin St-Louis play some of his best shooters with a centre like Monahan, who can control the play, creating time and space for his younger linemates.

Veteran Presence

We already discussed Gallagher’s underrated impact due to his strong underlying numbers, and Joel Armia is in the same boat.

He’s arguably the least popular Habs player in the lineup, but he’s made a positive impact on the team this season and probably deserves a little more credit than he’s received.

Yes, he’s overpaid, and yes, he tends to take nights off, but all the statistical proof points to a player who does not deserve to be blamed for all the team’s woes. Armia scored his sixth goal in 23 games on Saturday after a very nice passing play between Michael Pezzetta and Mitchell Stephens.


And Heeeeeere Come The Pretzels!

The Montreal Canadiens may have gotten lucky to score three goals on just nine shots, but they did a very good job sprinting alongside one of the best teams in the NHL.

But here’s the thing with most hockey games; they tend to last long enough to reveal which team possesses the most talent.

The second half of the second period revealed the Rangers were the much better team, as evidenced by their two goals and their six high-danger chances.

Being a better team does not guarantee a win in the NHL, mind you, but it sure does help.

New York controlled the play for the majority of the third period, leading to Adam Fox’s game-tying goal, which was his fourth goal of the year.

It’s difficult to be frustrated with the late-game collapse by the Habs given that the Rangers are clearly the better team. On that note, the Canadiens cannot seem to put a full game together under St-Louis’ tutelage. Either they start hot and fade down the stretch, or they get outplayed in the first period and have to play catch-up all game.

It’s par for the course in a rebuild, but it’s become a little too predictable.

Final Play


The Montreal Canadiens will be back in action on Wednesday. They will face the Philadelphia Flyers 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.