Friday, December 3

In the Habs’ Room: Offensive for no-show as fans go home disappointed

Montreal has been limited to one goal in each of its three games and the power play is 0 out of 11.

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Jake Allen did his job, but the offense was again lacking in action when the New York Rangers pulled off a 3-1 win at the Bell Center on Saturday to spoil the Canadiens’ home opener.

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The Canadiens have lost their first three games and you just have to look at the stats to understand why. Montreal has been limited to one goal in each of the three games and the power play is 0 out of 11.

Jonathan Drouin, who is returning from a long leave to deal with anxiety issues, has scored two of the three goals, but the young stars the Canadiens depend on, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, have yet to earn a point.

“That doesn’t usually happen with him,” coach Dominique Ducharme said. ” Some guys say he’s squeezing the stick and some say he’s looking for a perfect shot, but when guys like that get going and get those records, they don’t even think about it. It is natural that when you receive a shot you know that it is going to enter. Right now, we don’t have that as a team. “

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“We have to do a better job creating offense,” Suzuki said. “Obviously, it gets frustrating when we’re not scoring in the power game; take away the momentum. “

Suzuki said he thought the Canadiens did a better job entering the offensive zone, but said there were disconnections. He said he missed Caufield in the slot on one occasion, and all too often the Rangers were able to clear the puck before Montreal had a chance.

The Canadiens only had one shot on two first-quarter power plays and finished the night 0 of 3 with five shots on goal.

“Nobody wants to start Season 0 and 3,” Drouin said. “I thought we played a great game in Toronto, we were terrible in Buffalo and tonight it was more our game. But that single power play goal (by Chris Kreider) in the second period took too much momentum out of our 5v5 game. “

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The Canadiens shot out the Rangers 32-24 with a 27-16 lead over the final two periods, but Drouin said the Canadiens didn’t put enough pressure on Rangers goalkeeper Igor Shesterkin.

“We play too much from the outside,” Drouin said. “There were a lot of rebounds from that goalkeeper. He played well, but there were a lot of rebounds in the slot and around the net and there weren’t many guys there to capitalize on those rebounds. We need that dirty goal. We had a lot of shots, but we need guys around the net. “

On his goal, Drouin was moving into the slot when he received a pass from Christian Dvorak, who had given a circle behind the net. Dvorak is proving to be a major improvement on Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He is a legitimate center who won 15 of his 22 games on Saturday.

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Drouin said he expected a warm welcome from the first big crowd at the Bell Center in 585 days, but didn’t expect it to be as loud as it was. The Canadiens announced a packed crowd of 20,105, but there were several hundred empty seats.

While fans were happy to be back in the building, the happiest fans were Alexis Lafrenière’s family. They watched from a private box as their son, the first overall pick in the 2020 draft and a native of St-Eustache, scored the winning goal 26 seconds after Drouin tied the game 1-1.

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Reference-montrealgazette.com

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