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In Hainsight: A Worrying Trend

November 23, 2022, 2:38 AM ET [80 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

For the first time this season, I started writing my blog before the end of the game. Last season, that was a regular occurrence as the team was often blown out and had no will to come back, but watching this new look edition of the Canadiens, I didn’t think I’d get the luxury this year. Martin St-Louis once said that you can’t overreact to mistakes, that there is such a thing as overcoaching, but that you must act when you identify a trend and we’ve seen the start of a trend lately. The Habs are constantly digging a whole early for themselves in the first period being down 2 or 3-0 within minutes.

Tonight, Montreal just didn’t look ready and within 2 minutes 13 seconds, the Sabres were up by 3 goals which is a new franchise record for the fastest 3 goals allowed to begin a game. The previous mark was 2 minutes 25 seconds against Washington in 1979, that’s not the kind of record you want to break. There’s no denying that the Canadiens looked disorganized tonight and like they had forgotten how to play their own game, gone was the pressing forechecking and the Sabres were free to roam as they pleased on the ice. There’s no denying that their first line was absolute fire tonight, Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner were very impressive.

It was a difficult night for Jake Allen (who even broke his stick after the Sabres’ 7th goal) and veteran defenders like Mike Matheson and Joel Edmundson, I know regaining game shape can take some time, but Edmundson has been back a while now, so he must do better. It wasn’t the best night to be without Arber Xhekaj either as there was some rough stuff but no sheriff on the premises. Chris Wideman did drop the gloves though, not that it’s in his skill set, but he’s showed in the past that he was willing to do it, including when Scheifele landed that hit on Evans in the playoffs. As for Kaiden Guhle, he did land 3 big hits and tried to wake-up his team that way a few times, he really does remind me of Shea Weber at times.

As for Juraj Slafkovsky who was getting a shot on the 2nd line tonight, he wasn’t particularly noticeable aside from on a couple of plays. On one occasion, he was on the board competing for the puck against 3 Sabres and he did manage to come out of there with it thanks to a good burst of speed. Later, he threaded a cross zone pass masterfully to Josh Anderson on the power play, but the power forward shot it wide. For the most part though, it was a forgettable game for the youngster, not that it was a good game for anyone wearing the Sainte-Flanelle, so it would be harsh to judge him based on this performance.

In the end, the Canadiens will have to realize that running solves nothing, you must leave on time. The Habs won’t have much time to put this awful performance behind them as they’ll be back in action tomorrow night in Columbus, which is probably why St-Louis stuck with Jake Allen all night even though he deserved (and probably would have liked to be pulled). Hopefully, Samuel Montembeault will do better tomorrow night, the Canadiens will need it if they hope to beat the Blue Jackets who won the last meeting between the two teams 6-4 less than a week ago.
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