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In Hainsight: Missed Opportunities Lead to Unequivocal Defeat

November 30, 2022, 5:23 PM ET [262 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

Last night’s game at the Bell Centre was a rather forgettable one, the Canadiens looked like they lacked life, organization and will to win. It’s not that Martin St-Louis’ men didn’t get more than their fair share of chances, but they just couldn’t seize them.

For years now, the Canadiens’ power play has been anything but powerful and last night’s opponents, the Sharks are the best team when it comes to penalty killing by a country mile with a 91.2% success rate so the Habs’ inability to convert with the man advantage shouldn’t have come as a shock. Still, Montreal started the 3rd frame with a 5 on 3 that was over 50 seconds long and was unable to generate anything, in fact, their lack of success gave a huge dose of momentum to the Sharks who doubled their lead seconds later.

There’s no argument that the Canadiens lack elite scoring talent outside of their first line and that’s why this rebuild is happening and had to happen. The previous regime had committed so much money to goaltending and defense that offense had become an afterthought. Now though, the Habs brass wants its time to play exciting offensive hockey, but they don’t have the perfect cast to do so. Seeing Armia on the power play when he’s pointless in 11 games just shows how short of offensive skills this team is.

Hopefully, the Canadiens will be able to draft another impact player at the next draft. While the team has exceeded expectations so far this season, it is about to embark on a rough ride calendar wise with a truckload of away games and a west coast trip which is rarely kind to the organization.

On top of the inability to score, the Canadiens have another serious issue on their hands, goaltending. As I’ve said yesterday, Samuel Montembeault has been better than anyone expected him to be, but Jake Allen’s performance is worrying. Once again last night, there were a couple of goals that Allen should have stopped and the fact that it always seems to take him a few minutes to get into the game, meaning that he surrenders a goal early on, is clearly affecting the team’s confidence.

That being said, if the goal was actually to win as many games as possible this season, this issue would be much more concerning, but as things stand, this season is still aimed at development and Allen’s counter performances may just serve a greater purpose, allowing the Habs to draft higher than they would have if they were getting proper goaltending.

This morning, both Brendan Gallagher and Sean Monahan weren’t at practice, getting treatments but it was interesting to see that the coach is still looking for the right combination at the back. While the Savard-Guhle pairing was very efficient at the start of the year, the newly formed combination of Edmundson and Matheson has been anything but, so much so that the coach has decided to split them up. The Canadiens will fly to Calgary this afternoon and they’ll take on the Flames tomorrow night at 9:00 PM.

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