By JD Lagrange – The Montreal Canadiens are on a road trip and last night, they were in Colorado to face the Stanley Cup champions. Even without Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Bowen Byram, Andrew Cogliano, Josh Manson and Darren Helm, the Avalanche’s points percentage is over .600 and they had won their last two games.
The Canadiens played an excellent first period but were dominated in just about all aspects in the last 40 minutes of play. If not for the play of Jake Allen who stopped 34 of the 36 shots that he’s faced (.944 Sv%), it would not have looked pretty for our beloved Habs. But because of him, the game went to overtime, when Mikko Rantanen scored the game winner for the Avs.
They were outshot 36-20 and blocked another 23 shots according to NHL scorekeeping officials.
Here were the Canadiens leaders in ice time last night.
- 19:58 Kirby Dach
- 19:29 Josh Anderson
- 19:14 Nick Suzuki
- 18:27 Cole Caufield
- 15:05 Christian Dvorak
- 25:23 Kaiden Guhle
- 22:54 Jordan Harris
- 21:04 Joel Edmundson
- 20:21 Johnathan Kovacevic
- Anthony Richard finished the night with a goal, a penalty and one hit in only 9:44 minutes of ice time.
- Juraj Slafkovsky only played 2:07 minutes in the third period.
The Canadiens greatly miss Sean Monahan. As a team last night, they had a 44% success rate in the faceoffs’ dots. Here’s the breakdown for the four centers:
- 60% Nick Suzuki
- 50% Christian Dvorak
- 45% Jake Evans
- 25% Jonathan Drouin
Drouin only took eight faceoffs all game.
Jonathan Drouin has been playing his best and most inspired hockey that we’ve seen in a long time since returning from injury on December 14th. He is involved and for the first time in a long time, he seems to want the puck on his stick. Granted, the points aren’t there but he is getting chances. He is shooting more and making plays. And Martin St-Louis is rewarding him, even trying him at center, an experience that hasn’t worked in the past.
While for some odd reason, it doesn’t show on the NHL’s official stats, Drouin was even used on the penalty kill and a few of us pointed it out on Twitter when it happened. Talk about a surprising move by St-Louis and the coaching staff… although they have been using Josh Anderson for a while now in that role.
But I don’t understand this infatuation for crapping on the guy by too many Habs’ fans. According to them, the guy can’t do anything right, even when playing well.
On that play in overtime last night, Drouin took the puck from end to end, beat the defenseman, cut to the net hard and… almost scored. He was tripped on the play and slid in the corner but the play he did was the right one. Had Cole Caufield or Nick Suzuki done that exact play, I would bet my house that they wouldn’t be blamed for it. Trying to score in overtime is what they are paid to do and he did that, on a beautiful play.
That’s just one example of the fans’ infatuation and borderline hater towards a player even they said supporting when he took time off for his mental health… which makes us question the sincerity of their supposed sympathy at the time. Actions do speak louder than words.
The Canadiens’ next game is set for Thursday as they will be visiting the red-hot Dallas Stars. They have changed the game time to 8:00 PM ET.