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In Hainsight: Allen Gets Back on Track

December 2, 2022, 5:50 PM ET [181 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

Jake Allen had been struggling of late, so much so that most everyone thought it was time to let Samuel Montembeault see more action, but Marty St-Louis stuck to his guns and used his veteran netminder last night. Allen proved him right, stopping 45 of the 46 shots he received for a .978 save percentage and multiplying gave-saving saves as the Flames kept on firing from all angles only to be denied.

For once, it was the Canadiens who scored early. Sean Monahan who was taking the initial faceoff in his homecoming game, pushed the puck forward and looked like he was going to go on a breakaway until Jacob Markstrom decided that he wasn’t going to have it and dove for the puck, preventing Monahan from getting it, but also taking himself out of position in the process. As a result, Juraj Slafkovsky was able to net his 4th goal of the season 13 seconds in.

From that point on, it was Calgary who controlled the play and pressed on, enough for Lindholm to tie up the score with 29 seconds left in the 2nd frame, but not enough to win the game as the Canadiens scored a timely power-play goal in the 3rd which would turn out to be the game winner. Once again, it was Cole Caufield who buried a one-timer off a great Suzuki feed, that cross zone pass is obvious, it’s predictable and everyone knows it’s coming, but it’s still working. Much like Alexander Ovechkin keeps scoring from there on the Washington power play. Caufield hasn’t got an Ovechkin shot yet, but he’s constantly improving.

Aside from Allen’s acrobatics, Slafkovsky’s performance was also noticeable last night, thanks to the fact that Hoffman and Gallagher were injured, he found himself playing alongside Monahan and Anderson and made the most of that opportunity even if he had less ice-time than his linemates (coming in at 12:39 TOI). He took 2 shots on goal and very nearly got a 2nd goal when he rang a shot of the post after turning on the jets to distance himself from Rasmus Andersson who looked like he was skating in jell-o.

It's also worth noting that Sean Monahan ended his night with 2 assists even though he turned up for the game in a walking cast, there was just no way he was going to miss this chance of playing against his former team. The Flames did show a video homage during the first TV break and Flames fans welcomed Monahan back like a hero, clearly, both the player and the man were treasured by the Calgary faithful.

It wasn’t a great night for Jordan Harris though as he seemed to be struggling to keep up at times and even took 2 penalties. Meanwhile, David Savard blocked 7 shots playing a team-high 24:59. I’d wager a couple of bucks that he’ll be the next casualty of the defensemen rotation system.

Tomorrow, the Canadiens will take on the Oilers in Edmonton and given Allen’s performance, I imagine he’ll be the one facing the likes of McDavid and Draisaitl. They’ll then have a back-to-back in Vancouver and Seattle Monday and Tuesday, where he’ll probably split the workload with Samuel Montembeault.
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