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Canadiens Postgame

Tired Canadiens Fail To Capitalize On Their Chances In Pittsburgh



Montreal Canadiens Penguins

The Montreal Canadiens were in Pittsburgh on Thursday night to face the struggling Penguins.

There was an unforeseen twist to the game, as the Habs claimed former Penguin Colin White on waivers shortly before puck drop. The newest member of the Canadiens was slotted on the fourth line, between Tanner Pearson and Jesse Ylonen.

Goaltender Cayen Primeau was given the start for Montreal, just his second game since January 20.

Despite outchancing their opponents by a rather wide margin at 5v5 (15-6), the Canadiens ran out of steam midway through the game, leading to a 4-1 Penguins win. Given the Canadiens played on Wednesday and had to travel to New Jersey, the lack of energy was to be expected.

There was bad news from a health standpoint, as Canadiens defenceman Jayden Struble had to leave the game in the third period, needing the help of two trainers to make it to the locker room. Struble had just stretched to avoid an offside providing us with a clue as to the nature of his injury, likely a groin strain.

The game marked the fourth loss in a row for the Habs, which is sure to please fans of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. As it stands, Montreal is 26th in the standings, but if they continue to drop games finishing 29th is a legitimate possibility.

Let’s dive into the highlights!

Hot Potato

White’s first notable presence was not particularly encouraging. He carried the puck into the offensive zone with speed, but an errant pass was quickly intercepted by veteran Kris Letang.

Fortunately for White, Letang immediately paid it forward by delivering a perfect pass to his former teammate, Mike Matheson, who scored his eighth goal of the season.

Letang did not waste much time making up for his costly error.

The Montreal native scored his fifth goal of the season less than two minutes later thanks to a seeing-eye shot and some good pressure by the Penguins on the forecheck. This time around it was Matheson who was on the short end of the stick in the defensive zone.

The two teams entered the first intermission with the score tied 1-1, but the Habs held a big advantage in high-danger scoring chances (10-5) at 5v5. It’s become a trend lately, as the Canadiens have done a much better job controlling the flow of games in recent weeks.

Failing To Capitalize

Despite controlling the flow of the game, the Canadiens had a very difficult time capitalizing on the many chances they had.

The best scoring opportunity belonged to Cole Caufield and involved a very nice passing play by Juraj Slafkovsky, but the American winger was robbed by Penguins netminder Tristan Jarry.

As is often the case in hockey, the squandered opportunities quickly led to a momentum change in favour of the opponent. At the risk of being labelled as someone who is allergic to blaming goaltenders, I find it very difficult to pin the defensive woes on Cayden Primeau.

Despite earning a shutout in his last start, Primeau had to wait nine days before his name was called upon in the Canadiens’ frustrating, three-headed monster situation in the crease.

That doesn’t absolve him of all responsibilities, but he was also playing behind a very tired team that simply did not have the legs to shut down the Penguins on the rush.


The Montreal Canadiens will be back in action on Saturday when they face the Devils in New Jersey. The puck drop is scheduled for 2 pm ET.

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