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Things were looking up for the Habs in the first half of the week following a pair of wins against strong playoff-bound teams.  However, they followed that up with a pair of blowout losses to end on a low note.

The Week That Was

Jan. 15: Canadiens 4, Avalanche 3 – Montreal got off to a slow start to this one but found their skating legs as the game went on.  They twice came back from one-goal deficits and even took the lead early in the third with a power play goal from Cole Caufield but Devon Toews got that one back before the midway mark.  However, Joel Armia’s strong stretch continued as he pushed his way past a pair of defenders to bury a rebound that held up as the winner with a little over four minutes left.

Jan. 17: Canadiens 3, Devils 2 – The youngsters led the way for the Canadiens through the first two periods with Juraj Slafkovsky continuing his strong performance as of late to get a goal in the first while Joshua Roy added his first NHL tally in the second.  However, their leaky penalty kill gave those back in the early moments of the third with New Jersey scoring on both ends of a double-minor.  But once again, Montreal got one in the dying minutes; this time, it was Cole Caufield potting the winner with a little over four minutes to go.

Jan. 18: Senators 6, Canadiens 2 – Montreal has struggled lately against Ottawa and hasn’t fared well in the back half of back-to-backs all season.  Both of those trends certainly continued.  Cayden Primeau struggled throughout the game, giving the Sens some freebies that sucked the life out of the Habs fairly quickly, even when it was a one-goal game before the midway mark of the second.

Jan. 20: Bruins 9, Canadiens 4 – This was a game where neither goalie showed up to play, allowing the Habs to stay in it longer than they probably should have as Boston’s defensive game was much better.  Then, in the third period, the entire team folded with the Bruins happily piling on.  On a happy note, Montreal scored two power play goals, continuing its recent strong stretch.



# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
8 Mike Matheson 4 1 1 -5 4 13 26:11
11 Brendan Gallagher 4 1 1 -2 2 6 13:36
13 Mitchell Stephens 4 0 0 E 0 4 9:42
14 Nick Suzuki 4 0 3 -6 6 9 20:26
17 Josh Anderson 1 0 0 -3 7 0 13:19
20 Juraj Slafkovsky 4 2 1 -6 0 10 19:07
21 Kaiden Guhle 4 0 0 -4 2 2 22:03
22 Cole Caufield 4 4 2 -4 0 13 19:19
26 Johnathan Kovacevic 1 0 0 E 0 0 13:18
40 Joel Armia 4 2 1 +2 4 12 16:36
47 Jayden Struble 4 0 0 -1 2 4 18:20
49 Rafael Harvey-Pinard 4 1 1 -1 2 3 15:04
52 Justin Barron 3 0 0 E 0 1 14:26
54 Jordan Harris 4 0 1 +2 2 2 16:32
55 Michael Pezzetta 4 1 0 -1 7 2 7:18
56 Jesse Ylonen 3 0 0 +1 0 1 7:49
58 David Savard 4 0 1 -5 0 3 19:20
71 Jake Evans 4 0 1 -3 2 3 17:13
89 Joshua Roy 4 1 1 E 0 9 11:34
91 Sean Monahan 4 0 7 +2 0 6 18:04


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
30 Cayden Primeau 0-1-0 5.16 .857 0
34 Jake Allen 1-0-0 3.00 .914 0
35 Samuel Montembeault 1-1-0 5.49 .833 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Cole Caufield (16)
Assists: Nick Suzuki (26)
Points: Nick Suzuki (38)
+/-: Johnathan Kovacevic (+6)
PIMS: Josh Anderson (51)
Shots: Cole Caufield (166)

News And Notes

– There was a bit of good news on the injury front as Josh Anderson returned from his lower-body injury.  As he remained on the active roster while injured, the Habs didn’t have to send anyone down to make room for him.  They will have to do so when Tanner Pearson returns.

– Quietly, Montreal’s power play has been a fair bit better lately.  Since the calendar flipped to January, the Habs are chugging along at a 25% success rate.

– Rafael Harvey-Pinard’s goal snapped a 17-game goalless drought dating back to last season.

Last Game’s Lines

Caufield – Suzuki – Slafkovsky
Roy – Monahan – Armia
Anderson – Evans – Gallagher
Harvey-Pinard – Stephens – Pezzetta

Matheson – Savard
Struble – Guhle
Harris – Barron

The Week Ahead

Tuesday vs Ottawa – The Sens will be a lot stronger down the middle for the rematch.  Josh Norris has returned from his injury while Shane Pinto made his season debut on Sunday after serving his suspension.  Beyond that, the Habs will be looking to snap their recent struggles and bounce back from two rough efforts.

Thursday vs NY Islanders – Like Montreal, the Islanders have benefited from getting a lot of games to overtime this season which has helped them overcome a sub-.500 winning percentage.  Of course, there isn’t much point in analyzing how things have gone beyond that as they changed coaches over the weekend, bringing in Patrick Roy to ideally kick-start their offence and help get Ilya Sorokin back to his top form.

Saturday at Pittsburgh – For a team that added a prominent piece on the back end in Erik Karlsson this summer, the Penguins have underachieved this year, sitting seventh in the Metropolitan.  Oddly enough, it’s not the defence that’s doing them in as they’ve allowed the third-fewest goals in the NHL this season.  For all the firepower they have, they can’t score even with Sidney Crosby having a resurgent year and Jake Guentzel once again being above a point per game.  They’ll have to figure out how to turn that around soon or they may become a surprising seller.

Final Thought

When it comes to Jake Allen, a lot of the talk has been around two things – when are they going to trade him and for what?  But there’s something else I think that’s worth highlighting and that’s how professional he has been through this whole situation.

This isn’t what he signed up for a year ago.  At that time, he signed with the expectation that he’d be given a chance to compete for the number one job.  Granted, Samuel Montembeault has outplayed him since then but that doesn’t mean Allen should have been dropped to what has amounted to fighting for spare minutes with the third-string goalie.  In Allen’s defence, he hasn’t done anything to warrant that type of change.

Lots of players would have asked out by now or even vented their frustration.  He hasn’t.  Instead, Allen has been the consummate professional which was one of the reasons the Habs extended him in the first place.  For everyone’s sake, a change of scenery sooner than later would be ideal if he is indeed the one to go.  When that happens, I hope fans respect him for how he has handled this situation.  I know I do.