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In Hainsight: Canadiens Come Up Short Against Sabres

February 22, 2024, 4:56 PM ET [215 Comments]
Karine Hains
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Montreal really tried its best last night, they had Montembeault in net, they limited the Sabres to only 23 shots while taking 31 of their own on a red-hot Luukkonen who was deservedly named the first star of the game.

For the second game in a row, Arber Xhekaj score the Canadiens’ first goal with a big slapper, this time off a loose puck good for his third goal of the season. The young defenseman is slowly starting to look like himself again, not only making the most of the opportunities he gets on the ice but also landing some devastating hits. He landed four in nearly 18 minutes on the ice, forcing the Sabres to keep their heads up or pay the price.

Meanwhile, another blueliner had a good game, Jayden Struble used his 14:35 minutes of ice time as well as he could, scoring the Canadiens’ second and last goal on a puck he wristed on the net hoping for the best and which found its way behind Lukkonen. Just like Xhekaj, he also showed players need to be aware of when he’s on the ice, landing four big body checks.

Joshua Roy had the primary assist on both goals and didn’t look out of place on a second line with Alex Newhook and Josh Anderson. The team’s centers were wonderful in the face-off circle winning 65.3% of the draws, Nick Suzuki was top of the class at 75%, winning 15 of his 20 draws. For the first time in 10 games though, he was held off the scoresheet which put an end to his point streak, just like Slafkovsky’s also come to a halt.

In the end, Montreal lost 3-2 , they just couldn’t find a goal to tie up the game in the third. As always, Jeff Skinner was only too happy to torture the Habs by scoring another goal against them yet again.

The Canadiens won’t have to lament the loss for too long though as they’ll be right back in the saddle tonight taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Only scratches will be taking part of this morning’s skate while St-Louis will speak to the media around noon at the team’s hotel. tonight,ious to see who’ll be in net tonight and I can’t be the only one…

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