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After a strong start to their road trip, the second half wasn’t as strong for the Habs as they dropped both of those contests before losing a surprisingly high-scoring game to Vegas at the Bell Centre to cap off their week.

The Week That Was

Nov. 1: Wild 4, Canadiens 1 – A trip to Minnesota is basically known as Guaranteed Loss Night for Montreal and this one was no exception.  The Habs had a good first period in terms of controlling the puck but couldn’t muster up much in the way of quality offensive chances.  That came back to bite them as the Wild picked it up in the second, scoring a pair early and they controlled things from there.  Nick Suzuki had a power play goal in the third to break Marc-Andre Fleury’s shutout bid but that was all they could muster up.

Nov. 3: Jets 3, Canadiens 2 (OT) – Once again, Suzuki scored Montreal’s first goal of the game, this time in highlight-reel fashion as he drove the net with a power move, something we don’t see from him very often.  However, Winnipeg tied it up before the end of the period.  Kirby Dach restored the lead in the second period but that lead was also short-lived as Blake Wheeler tied it less than a minute later.  Samuel Montembeault more than did his part to keep the Habs in it and was a big part of the game even getting to overtime but unfortunately for the Canadiens, they couldn’t secure the extra point as Kyle Connor potted the winner less than two minutes in.

Nov. 5: Golden Knights 6, Canadiens 4 – Vegas has been a stingy defensive team all season and the Habs have scuffled offensively most nights so naturally, this was a bit of a wild one.  Montreal’s top line once again did most of the damage with three of the four goals but the Golden Knights picked up four in the third to take the win.  The score might not suggest it but Jake Allen had a pretty good showing in this one, especially in the second period when Vegas put on a possession clinic.



# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
6 Chris Wideman 2 0 1 -2 12 5 14:10
11 Brendan Gallagher 3 0 0 -3 0 8 12:58
14 Nick Suzuki 3 4 1 E 0 8 21:11
17 Josh Anderson 3 0 0 -3 15 1 12:58
20 Juraj Slafkovsky 3 1 0 E 2 4 10:46
21 Kaiden Guhle 3 0 2 +1 0 2 20:02
22 Cole Caufield 3 1 3 E 0 17 17:56
26 Johnathan Kovacevic 2 0 0 -1 2 1 17:30
27 Jonathan Drouin 3 0 0 -1 0 4 12:57
28 Christian Dvorak 3 0 0 -3 0 3 14:44
32 Rem Pitlick 2 0 0 E 4 0 12:16
40 Joel Armia 3 0 0 -2 2 8 15:31
44 Joel Edmundson 2 0 1 E 0 5 21:48
54 Jordan Harris 3 0 0 -3 2 1 20:51
58 David Savard 3 0 1 +1 0 2 23:50
68 Mike Hoffman 1 0 0 E 0 3 11:31
71 Jake Evans 3 0 0 -1 7 2 13:30
72 Arber Xhekaj 3 0 0 -1 14 6 16:42
77 Kirby Dach 3 1 4 +1 0 4 16:46
91 Sean Monahan 3 0 0 -2 10 4 15:35


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
34 Jake Allen 0-2-0 4.59 .875 0
35 Samuel Montembeault 0-0-1 2.91 .917 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Caufield/Suzuki (8)
Assists: Kirby Dach (8)
Points: Nick Suzuki (15)
+/-: Nick Suzuki  (+5)
PIMS: Arber Xhekaj (29)
Shots: Cole Caufield (48)

News And Notes

– Evgenii Dadonov was placed on injured reserve.  Officially, he had been battling an illness but this is just a creative way to avoid an uncomfortable situation for a few days.  While the placement was eligible to be back-dated, it wasn’t so he’ll miss seven days past November 3rd which takes him out of being available for Tuesday’s contest.

– Nick Suzuki is on a four-game goal streak which is a new career-high for him.  Kirby Dach, meanwhile, has points in four straight which is one shy of his career best set back in his rookie season.

– Arber Xhekaj leads all NHL rookies in hits while Jordan Harris and Kaiden Guhle sit one-two in blocked shots.

– Josh Anderson received a two-game suspension for his boarding incident on Alex Pietrangelo on Saturday.  It’s his first career suspension and he’ll be eligible to return to the lineup on Saturday.

Last Game’s Lines:

Caufield – Suzuki – Dach
Anderson – Dvorak – Gallagher
Drouin – Monahan – Hoffman
Slafkovsky – Evans – Armia

Guhle – Savard
Edmundson – Harris
Xhekaj – Wideman

The Week Ahead

Tuesday at Detroit – The Red Wings are getting their depth tested in the early going.  They’re already down Tyler Bertuzzi, Robby Fabbri, and Jakub Vrana while Filip Zadina suffered a long-term injury blocking a shot on Saturday.  In spite of all that, Detroit won on Sunday to move into second place in the Atlantic Division.  Dylan Larkin and Dominik Kubalik are leading the way offensively as they’re averaging over a point per game so far.

Wednesday vs Vancouver – It was a rocky start for the Canucks although they’ve stabilized things a little bit with three wins and a shootout loss in their last five games.  They’ve had no issue scoring goals but stopping them has proven to be quite difficult as the usually reliable Thatcher Demko has a GAA just under 4.00 and a save percentage of just .879.  Bo Horvat has 10 goals already (a good start to his contract year) while KHL signing Andrei Kuzmenko has impressed early on, averaging just under a point per game.

Saturday vs Pittsburgh – It has been a rough go lately for the Penguins who have lost seven straight games (which doesn’t include Montreal’s win against them last month).  They should have Teddy Blueger and Jeff Carter back for this game which should force their hand from a cap perspective; their roster might look a little different on Saturday than it is now.  Kris Letang is still looking for his first goal of the season while Jeff Petry has scored just once so far.  So too has Ryan Poehling who is averaging a little over 12 minutes a game through his first dozen appearances.

Final Thought

The underachieving veterans (particularly Evgenii Dadonov, Mike Hoffman, and Jonathan Drouin) have garnered most of the attention when it comes to struggles which has been great news for Rem Pitlick who has very quietly struggled this season.  He has yet to record a point, has been scratched five times already, and after saying he was going to make a point of shooting the puck more, he has done the complete opposite as he isn’t even attempting one per game.  That’s not exactly a compelling case to be in the lineup and at this point, I wonder if he could be a casualty of the numbers game instead of one of those veterans.

It’s notable that Pitlick’s cap hit ($1.1 million) is below the threshold that can be fully buried in the minors and I’m pretty sure that’s by design.  While Montreal deservedly rewarded him for the second half he had last season (even though it was almost certainly unsustainable), they wanted to make sure that if things went sideways, there wouldn’t be any lingering costs as there were with Jordan Weal a few years ago.  At this point, Pitlick is playing like the version of himself that got him waived multiple times last season.  From an asset perspective, what’s better for the Habs, playing him or someone that they might be able to flip closer to the trade deadline that has a longer track record?  I know I’d lean for the latter; frankly, getting Pitlick top-line minutes in Laval would be ideal in terms of trying to get him back on track.  Pitlick’s spot on the roster should be in some question at this point, here’s hoping he figures that out and can get back to being a positive contributor soon.  If he can’t do that, he shouldn’t be on the roster much longer.