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It was another light week on the schedule for the Habs who played just twice.  The first was one they’d like to forget while the second saw them blow another late lead but they still managed to pick up the win.

The Week That Was

Oct. 17: Wild 5, Canadiens 2 – Some teams just have the other’s number and that’s basically the case with this matchup.  Montreal’s power play was a big factor in this one but not because they scored; no, it was two shorthanded goals allowed in the span of 25 seconds in the first period that put them in a hole early, one they never came close to climbing out of.  The game was a bit chippier than normal was well with the two teams combining for 84 penalty minutes.

Oct. 21: Canadiens 3, Capitals 2 (OT) – A late power play goal from Sean Monahan in the first opened up the scoring while Brendan Gallagher doubled the lead in the second.  The Habs had plenty of opportunities to capitalize on power plays in the third to put it away and they didn’t do so.  That allowed Dylan Strome to score a pair to tie it up late but Cole Caufield scored the winner in overtime to lessen the frustration of the third-period setback.



# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
8 Mike Matheson 2 0 1 E 4 8 16:01
11 Brendan Gallagher 2 1 0 -1 2 4 12:00
14 Nick Suzuki 2 0 2 E 0 5 22:01
15 Alex Newhook 2 1 0 -1 2 3 16:10
17 Josh Anderson 2 0 0 E 18 6 16:50
20 Juraj Slafkovsky 2 0 0 E 4 1 14:05
21 Kaiden Guhle 1 0 0 E 2 0 10:19
22 Cole Caufield 2 1 2 +1 2 10 19:52
26 Johnathan Kovacevic 2 0 0 -1 0 2 19:16
49 Rafael Harvey-Pinard 2 0 0 -1 2 1 14:29
52 Justin Barron 1 0 0 E 0 0 11:31
54 Jordan Harris 2 0 0 E 0 0 20:54
55 Michael Pezzetta 2 0 0 E 10 1 6:38
56 Jesse Ylonen 2 0 0 -1 0 2 11:30
58 David Savard 2 0 1 +2 0 2 19:16
70 Tanner Pearson 2 1 1 E 2 5 13:04
71 Jake Evans 2 0 0 -1 0 2 13:03
72 Arber Xhekaj 2 0 0 E 2 1 15:57
91 Sean Monahan 2 1 1 +1 0 3 18:01


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
34 Jake Allen 1-0-0 1.97 .939 0
35 Samuel Montembeault 0-1-0 5.15 .857 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Caufield/Newhook (3)
Assists: Nick Suzuki (3)
Points: Cole Caufield (5)
+/-: Guhle/Kovacevic (+4)
PIMS: Josh Anderson (22)
Shots: Cole Caufield (16)

News And Notes

– So much for a nice start to the season on the injury front.  Kirby Dach’s season is over due a torn ACL and MCL while Kaiden Guhle is day-to-day with an upper-body issue.  Dach has been placed on IR.  No, he’s not on LTIR yet; they don’t need to make that move until they absolutely have to and that time, if it comes at all, isn’t coming anytime soon with Carey Price already on there.

– Joel Armia was recalled from Laval to take Dach’s spot on the roster.  With Cayden Primeau still on the NHL roster, there wasn’t a spot to call up an extra defenceman without putting Guhle on IR which means he’d miss at least a week.

– Last season, it took until Game 15 for Alex Newhook to score his third of the season.  He reached that mark in Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota.

Last Game’s Lines:

Caufield – Suzuki – Harvey-Pinard
Pearson – Newhook – Slafkovsky
Anderson – Monahan – Gallagher
Pezzetta – Evans – Ylonen

Matheson – Savard
Harris – Kovacevic
Xhekaj – Barron

The Week Ahead

Monday at Buffalo – The Sabres have been a bit sluggish out of the gate this season.  Tage Thompson has just one goal in five games after putting up 47 goals and 47 assists last season while Alex Tuch has just a single assist in his five appearances after recording 79 points last year.  Without the front line producing, they’ve struggled.  Youngsters Zach Benson and Devon Levi are dealing with day-to-day injuries so their availability for this one is in question.

Tuesday vs New Jersey – While Buffalo’s top line can’t score, New Jersey’s certainly has with eight goals in their first four contests; Jack Hughes is lighting it up in the early going with ten points.  Former Hab Tyler Toffoli is riding shotgun on that trio, a good spot for him to be in his contract year.  Both of their goalies (Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid) have struggled in their first two outings those as they each have a .892 SV%.  Nico Hischier is currently banged up and might not be available for this one.

Thursday vs Columbus – It has been an eventful month for Columbus who has had to adjust to another new coach but they’re doing alright in the early going.  Adam Fantilli is playing a regular role as is David Jiricek, their top pick from 2022 which has helped emphasize their desire to move a defenceman with both Andrew Peeke and Adam Boqvist sitting at times.  Patrik Laine has made the full-time switch to playing centre although he was injured late in a victory over Calgary, one that earned Rasmus Andersson a four-game suspension.

Saturday vs Winnipeg – Forget about the big roster blow-up in Winnipeg with Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck signing identical long-term extensions.  They did move Pierre-Luc Dubois although the key piece they added from that swap (Gabriel Vilardi) is on IR.  Their defensive play and goaltending have hurt them early on as only four teams have allowed more goals than the Jets, an outcome few would have expected with how their team is built.

Final Thought

There has been plenty of discussion about Montreal’s struggles on the power play and how even the penalty kill hasn’t been that great.  But there’s another ‘special teams’ situation that they are struggling mightily in, playing six-on-five.  Just four games into the season, they’ve allowed four goals when the opponent has pulled the goalie. 

Last season, the league average for goals allowed in that scenario was five.  They’re almost there already.  Last season, the Habs had only three; they’re already ahead of that.  There’s no way to spin that other than to say it’s less than ideal.

My early observation is that the Canadiens are playing nervous in those final minutes with the net empty at the other end.  They’re a young team so that’s not entirely shocking but even the youngsters have played (and done well) in those situations on their other teams; it’s not as if this is a new situation for them.  Small sample size randomness certainly comes into play here but this is something they need to shore up in the coming weeks.