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In Hainsight: Crushed by the Bruins

November 19, 2023, 5:01 PM ET [297 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

Martin St-Louis decided to mix things up a bit last night, Jesse Ylonen got himself a much-deserved promotion just like Sean Monahan who landed between the 24-year-old Arizona native and Juraj Slafkovsky. Meanwhile, Cole Caufield was reunited with Nick Suzuki, and they were joined by Alex Newhook. Still goalless Josh Anderson found himself on the third line with Christian Dvorak and Brendan Gallagher while Tanner Pearson played alongside Jake Evans and Michael Pezzetta. It was the first time since the start of the season that St-Louis dared taking apart his veteran line and giving Slafkovsky a center who’s got the hockey IQ and the experience needed to make him shine, even though it didn’t happen last year.

It's a bit tricky to evaluate these new lines since the Canadiens were purely and simply dominated by Boston. One thing that puzzles me about St-Louis though is the lack of line drills in practice. I know he likes his players to make reads of the play and how the game goes, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be beneficial for the players to get to know how their linemates think. I strongly believe there’s something to be said about chemistry, whether you want to implement a “system” of play or teach your players to “play the game and not their own game” to quote the bench loss.

Last night, Montreal watched as the Bruins did pretty much what they pleased in all three zones. At the end of the night, Boston had fired 44 shots on Jake Allen’s net while Montreal had only tested Jeremy Swayman 22 times. You’re never going to beat the league’s leader in GAA with so few shots. Boston’s domination was even more flagrant since Jim Montgomery’s men didn’t even need the Habs’ help to walk all over them. Montreal only committed five giveaways, they didn’t shoot themselves in the foot as they had when they played Vancouver and Calgary, they couldn’t even get the puck to turn it over. Boston fully deserved that 5-2 win.

It's hard to find many positives in this game, but if I had to find some, I’d say that Jake Allen did as well as could be expected in the circumstances as his team watched the Bruins skate circles around them. I would however add that Jury Slafkovsky recorded his second goal of the season and even added an assist on the Canadiens’ other goal. A small consolation considering the result, but a consolation, nonetheless.

With that loss, the Canadiens tied a season-high four-game losing streak and if they want to come out of that funk, they’ll need to provide a much better effort. Yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 6-4 in which their number one goaltender had a .783 save percentage. That’s just not good enough. Stuart Skinner has a 3.39 GAA and a .873 SP on the season. Edmonton has also waived Jake Campbell, a goaltender they signed to a five-year deal with a $5 million cap hit in the Summer of 2022.

Clearly, the Oilers are in dire need of help and according to insider Elliotte Friedman, they are currently looking at all three of the Canadiens’ goaltenders, but they do not want to make a panic trade, they are taking their time assessing the goods. To put it frankly, both Allen and Montembeault have a save percentage above .900 and could be potential targets. The problem is though, Edmonton is strapped for cash with barely above $1 million in cap space, a trade involving Allen would be impossible unless the Canadiens took some cash back. Could they entertain the idea of taking on Campbell only to buy him out later? Or are the Canadiens trying to extend Montembeault only to flip him afterwards? His current cap hit would fit perfectly in Edmonton, but it’s unlikely the Oilers will move to get temporary goaltending help this season, they should aim for a longer-term solution. If their slide carries on, they’ll soon find themselves out of playoffs contention and they’ll have wasted yet another year of McDavid’s prime.

The Habs’ next game will only take place Wednesday in Anaheim, perhaps a trade could happen to shake off the troops before then? Watch this spcace...One thing’s for sure, carrying three goaltenders on roster is not sustainable and Kent Hughes is no doubt looking for a solution.

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