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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens Can’t Keep Up With Bruins Forwards In Big Loss



Montreal CAnadiens vs Boston Bruins

The Montreal Canadiens were in Boston on Saturday night, facing the Bruins in a classic original six match-up.

Due to an awkward pre-game ceremony that celebrated Boston finally beating the Canadiens in the playoffs after roughly half a century of failed attempts, the Habs were wearing their red jerseys on the road, creating a great contrast with the Bruins’ gold and black.

As an homage to the 1988 Bruins team, both Boston and Montreal decided to play the game as if they were back in the 80s, leading to a flurry of goals and a complete lack of defensive structure.

Once the dust had settled Boston’s talent shone through, leading to a crushing 9-4  win for the home team.

For the view from the other side of the rink, make sure to visit our sister site Boston Hockey Now.

Let’s get to those highlights!

Goal Parade

Given both teams decided to play a defence-optional first period, five goals were scored and a lot of questionable decisions were made.

Cole Caufield opened the scoring with his fifth goal in as many games, a clear signal that his scoring woes are a thing of the past. Full marks to Sean Monahan for his great assist. He’s been doing a fantastic job creating time and space for his teammates in recent games, which should only improve the eventual return if the team decides to trade the talented veteran at the deadline.

Slafkovsky also made a very nice pass to find Monahan, more on him a little later in the recap.

The Bruins struck back immediately, with Brandon Carlo overpowering Jordan Harris in the Canadiens zone, which led to the Bruins defenceman gaining the inside track. He leveraged his position and made a great tip on a Trent Frederic pass.

Just a few shifts later, it was Joshua Roy’s turn to make a great play.

The Sniper Beauceron reminded everyone that he’s not just a shooter. He possesses high-end playmaking and he put it on display several times in the first period, including the play that resulted in the Canadiens’ first powerplay.

Roy, who is enjoying a very solid start to his NHL career, then recovered a loose puck in the neutral zone before quickly driving the play into the Bruins’ end, as he did regularly when he was in the AHL. He then found a streaking Joel Armia with a very nice pass, leading to the Finnish forward’s eighth goal of the year.

As an aside, while it’s certainly true both Monahan and Roy have played well in recent games, I’d be remiss if I did not send some well-deserved praise Armia’s way.

He’s having a good season. Full stop.

Unfortunately for Martin St-Louis’ team, the Bruins entered the intermission with a 3-2 lead due to a lack of support down low and slow decision-making from his players.

As we saw on several occasions, the Bruins are an incredibly talented team, one that knows how to capitalize on mistakes. But they can also get lucky, as was the case during their third goal of the game.

More Chaos

The second period was much like the first, chaotic. Both teams once again forwent any semblance of defensive play, leading to another four goals, as well as a quick fight between Josh Anderson and Trent Frederic.

As much as the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs like to say they’re a rival team for the Canadiens, there will always only be one true rival for the Montreal Canadiens.

Defenceman Mike Matheson’s great offensive season continued early in the second, scoring his seventh goal of the year on the powerplay. It was the second powerplay goal of the game for the Canadiens.

Say what you will about his defensive prowess, but his offensive instincts are hard to deny.

However, it was once again Monahan’s playmaking that stole the show, leading to his third assist of the match-up. I know his strong play will lead some to suggest the Montreal Canadiens should keep him rather than trade him at the deadline, and there’s merit to that argument.

But his value on the trade market will be inflated for the very same reasons some fans want to keep him. He’s versatile, he’s got strong offensive instincts, his defensive play is solid, and he improves everyone he plays with. Combine that with his measly $1.95 million salary cap hit, and you have a player who should garner a ton of interest around the NHL.

And that should lead to a very healthy return, exactly what the rebuilding Canadiens need. The reality is that Monahan will be 30 years old in October, which means he simply does not fit the rebuild plan in terms of age groups.

The Bruins scored the next two goals, once again stealing all the momentum in the high-event game. Heinen scored his second goal of the game when Jayden Struble was caught high, whereas Charlie Coyle deflected a perfect pass by David Pastrnak to give the home team a 5-3 lead.

That’s when Brendan Gallagher decided to drive the net, shocking everyone in the process!

Okay, we’re used to Gallagher making a living in the crease, but just like Armia, I have to admit that the longtime Canadiens forward is having a very good year. He’s received a little too much criticism given his strong underlying numbers. The goal numbers aren’t necessarily up to snuff, but when he’s on the ice the Canadiens outshoot, outchance, and outscore their opponents.

This time around he received a little help from Bruins defenceman Hampus Lindholm to score his eighth goal of the season.


Half A Dozen Markers

Remember how we pointed out earlier that the Bruins are too talented, and will take advantage of mistakes? Pastrnak drove the point home early in the third period. It was his 30th goal of the season, an impressive yet unsurprising number for the star forward.

The play started when Gallagher, who was clearly cursed by my earlier comments, made a poor play in the Bruins’ zone. Pastrnak then proceeded to overpower Struble and pounce on his own rebound to make it 6-4 for Boston.


Marty’s Tendencies

The main reason the Canadiens stayed in the game was that they faced Linus Ullmark during a rare night off. The Bruins controlled the shots and chances throughout. That’s not particularly odd. Boston is, after all, a much better team.

But at no point during the flood of goals against did St-Louis decide his team, which was being outplayed by a huge margin, needed a timeout.

He also decided to keep Montembeault in the net while his skaters were flailing around like drunken prairie dogs, leading to eight goals against the team’s best goaltender.

Montembeault did not do himself any favours, and St-Louis eventually pulled him once the score was 8-4, but it was much too little much too late from the Canadiens bench boss.

The damage was done.

The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Tuesday. They will face the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm et.

All Montreal Canadiens are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via Natural Stat Trick.