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Canadiens Postgame

Canadiens Silver Lining Re-Emerges In Hard-Fought Loss

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The Montreal Canadiens were in Edmonton on Tuesday to face Connor McDavid and the high-flying Oilers.

The Habs won’t qualify for the playoffs this season, but as we all know, there’s always pride on the line.

That pride came to the forefront versus the Oilers, as the Canadiens once again did a very good job controlling the momentum in a game versus a Stanley Cup contender.

Montreal ended up losing 3-2 while on the penalty kill in overtime, but they can be proud of their effort given the circumstances.

Let’s dive into those highlights!

Staged Match

Tempers flared early following a clean hit by Michael Pezzetta on Sam Carrick.

As we all know, Pezzetta can’t refuse a fight. It’s simply not something he’s able to do. I’m fairly certainbare-knuckle-boxe-knuckle box, Thanos.

This time around, Carrick got the best of Pezzetta. Full marks to the linesman for ensuring Pezzetta did not slam his helmetless head on the ice.

Anyone But Him

You can’t stop McDavid, but you can slow him down to a certain extent, at least relatively speaking.

But the Canadiens went the other way on Tuesday by setting McDavid up with a rather easy goal. A questionable breakout by Mike Matheson led to a difficult pass reception by Josh Anderson, which gave McDavid all the time and space he needed to open the scoring.

You’ll note Anderson’s stick blade is facing the goaltender once the puck reaches him, which means he had no choice but to re-adjust if he had any hope of hitting Jake Evans for a breakaway.

It’s easy to blame Anderson for all the Canadiens’ issues, and I understand that he’s not the most popular player on the team, but there was very little he could do with that dangerous breakout pass by Matheson, especially with Mattias Ekholm and McDavid lurking nearby.

Now, to be perfectly fair, Anderson did lose the puck earlier in the shift, and that led to the pressure in the defensive zone to begin with.

 

The Oilers scored their second goal of the game with a little over five minutes left to play in the second period.

Now, it would be easy to criticize the man-to-man coverage on this play, but we also have to acknowledge the Canadiens did a very good job holding the high-flying Oilers at bay up until that point.

That’s the risk with playing man-to-man. One failed assignment and the entire system breaks down spectacularly.

Here Come The Pretzels!

Despite trailing by two goals as the puck dropped for the third period, the Canadiens were clearly the better team. They held a healthy advantage in shots and scoring chances, yet another sign that the Habs’ process is improving, slowly yet surely.

But a strong process isn’t enough to guarantee a win in the NHL. You need talent, and no one expects the Canadiens to match a team like Edmonton when it comes to superstars.

Fortunately for the Habs, Juraj Slafkovsky banked a pass off Nick Suzuki’s skate(s) to cut the lead to just one goal within the first minute of the third period.

You could say it was luck, and there’s certainly merit to that argument, but you could also suggest that the Habs simply ate a little fruit of their labour.

The goal re-invigorated the Canadiens, who quickly tied the game thanks to Kaiden Guhle’s fifth goal of the season.

Martin St-Louis was not behind the bench on Tuesday as he’s dealing with a family matter, but he’ll surely be happy to hear about the play, which involved a smart pinch by a defenceman, as well as a goal off the rush. That’s the Martin St-Louis special.

Beyond Guhle’s nice goal, we also have to point out that both Jordan Harris and Evans delivered perfect passes that forced the Oilers to play catch up.

 

The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Thursday. They will face the Canucks in Vancouver, with the puck drop scheduled for 10 pm ET.


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

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Louis kirschner

If off. poccession in hockey is important then habs did well this game vs 1 of the best nhl teams. Go habs Go.

peter

Matheson with an unforced error, that almost never happens!!!

Tyrone

This game reinforces the idea that to beat the best teams in the league all we need is an elite goal scorer (or two) and/or an elite goalie to just push us over the edge. If it wasn’t for an unfortunate 4min penalty late in the game that carried over into OT, we might have pulled it off without them. If we had a game breaking goal scorer that can get you that goal when you need it most, or a goalie that single-handedly can steal a game, we would be right in the mix of things for sure. Perhaps Caufield will develop into that goal scorer and perhaps Montembeault could develop into that goalie, time will tell. If we want to be considered a true Cup contender in the future, we’re going to need one, or probably both, to happen.

Dana

If you have 2 elite scorers ( Caufield is of that ilk despite what this seasons stats say) and 5 or 6 more forwards that can produce and a D group that contributes offensively in addition to playing stout D, and a top 10 goalie then you’re competing for the Cup. That’s where we are headed in a few years. Still have a few pieces to add and time for the kids to develop but I see a path to contention. Bubble playoff team next year, playoff team in 26 and contender for a number of years following.

Tyrone

I agree. I think we’re poised well for the future with what we already have in our system, however, I think if we had that elite sniper and goalie, we’d obviously be better off. I like Caufield a lot, but I’m not ready to call him elite until he actually gets 40+ goals in a season. I believe he will, but he won’t be elite in my eyes until he does. My only real concern with him being the go-to guy for goals, is his size concerns me on whether he can maintain elite scoring in the playoff grind. If he were 6’1” and 200lbs, I’d rest assured he can handle the rigours of playoff hockey (especially in escaping the Atlantic division, and then still having to win 2 more rounds after that).

Dana

Fair enough, but I’d say the 48 goals in his first 83 games under Marty demonstrated to me that he is elite. I also look at his advanced stats and he is elite in some of those as well. He’s a volume shooter with a great release. His calling card is his shot. Elite being top 10ish. Time will tell.

I also agree that because he has yet to play 80 games in a season that makes him subject to injury concerns. He will never be a puck pitbull but he seems to be managing contact better this year. Lots of guys his size have long careers with limited injuries(and lots of playoff success) but everyone is different. Where he is currently the shooting option, he’s easier to isolate so perhaps having another sniper and a healthy Dach and a couple more defenders jumping up ( Hutson and Logan and David R) will make life hard on defenders and help create better opportunities for him. Im optimistic!!

Tyrone

Yep. I agree with all that. I just need him to show me that for an entire season and I can ✅ that box off for him officially.