Call of the Wilde: Canadiens avoid making seven with a 3-2 win over Philadelphia – Montreal | The Canadian News

The Montreal Canadiens have done it.

They finally have seven wins on the season, as they won in a shootout over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2, in front of not a single fan at the Bell Center.

Wilde Horses

It is not possible for a player who shot 18 percent in college hockey to go down to less than two percent in professional hockey. Cole Caufield is firing shot after shot, but they’re just not going to get in for him. Your shot is too good for this to continue. Caufield, with eight shots in this game, moves to 55 shots on the season, yet he only has one goal all year.

This is a player who scored one goal per game in his Hobey Baker award-winning season last year. True, he shot 18 percent in college hockey and that obviously wouldn’t continue against NHL goalies, but this two percent is shocking.

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This was Caufield’s best game of the season. Most impressive was how he kept his feet moving towards the attack zone. One of the difficulties Caufield has had this season is that he skates hard in the front zone, but then starts to slide. Caufield is not big enough to stop skating in this league. The legs must be flailing or it is too easy to defend.

You’ll get an average of four shots per game in the NHL only if you keep your skating pace. His best attribute is his shot, but he rejects it so often due to the speed he carries around the ice.

Caufield will likely have a pro shooting percentage with the quality of his shots at around eight percent. That is a modest prediction. More boldly, you might assume 10 percent. If you get that shooting percentage with the number of shots you take, you should be a 20-goal scorer at least in the NHL.

This single goal of more than 54 shots simply cannot and will not continue.

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The Canadiens had 18 quality chances to four after two periods. It was one of their best games of the year despite the fact that goals were still elusive. Some other performances stood out. Artturi Lehkonen had a lot of energy, he scored a goal and hit a lot of people like F1 on the bow check.

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Laurent Dauphin worked hard all night and was rewarded with the tying goal five minutes from the end of the third. It was his first NHL goal since December 2016. That’s perseverance.

His enthusiasm was obvious. Jesse Ylonen was also in the fold to play it at home, but Dauphin arrived right in front of Ylonen. The whole game was organized thanks to an excellent skating from the left point to the middle of the wall by Ben Chiarot to lower the puck. Chiarot is having a strong season personally, although he’s probably not enjoying it very much.

Kale Clague had his best game as a defender for the Canadiens. He didn’t look as strong in some of his early performances as he adjusted to a new club, but in this one he got off the charts to create offensively, rushed the puck well on ice, had an even better time, and handled himself well. On the defensive.

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The strange thing about Clague’s excellent performance was that he was actually offside. The left-handed shot played by the right. That’s supposed to be more difficult, but Clague may have found a home, if he continues to perform so well on his wrong side.

Clague is only 23 years old and still young at the time of developing a defender at the NHL level. Don’t judge too harshly and too early, even if the first results haven’t been brilliant until this contest.

This was into overtime, where Jonathan Drouin hit one in the top corner wonderfully to score for Montreal, and Cayden Primeau was perfect on all three shots as the Canadiens snapped their losing streak. Primeau looked better than any time he was called to Montreal.

In this one, there were a few things to build on for Montreal.

Wild goats

The spotlight is on Jeff Petry after his comments that his club plays unstructured. It seems like it’s a criticism of his head coach. It could also have been a criticism against his teammates, but whatever it is, Petry had to go out and play the best game possible to lift the team out of the depression he talks about.

Unfortunately, that did not happen. The Flyers scored two goals in the first two frames, and Petry was in both. He couldn’t clear on the first goal, and was surprised with a 2v1 on the second goal.

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A goal against usually has more than one culprit. Usually it takes two or sometimes even three for a goal to be scored, but it sure feels like everyone is looking solely for Petry on these two points.

There is no problem here showing your frustration. Petry should be frustrated. I don’t want to meet anyone who plays on a team who is not frustrated with this and can do it languidly.

You better be angry. Petry was, and now she’s taking the heat for it, but everyone’s failing here.

Wilde’s Letters

The most recent data released Thursday should show that a freight train of COVID-19 cases is arriving in Quebec.

The Francois Legault government asked the Montreal Canadiens at the last minute to play their tournament against the Flyers without fans. Owner Geoff Molson agreed, but what a terrible place to put it, as well as the entire Canadiens organization. Fans had come from as far away as Fredericton, NB, and Philadelphia for the contest, only to be informed at 5:20 p.m. that they couldn’t make it to the game.

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Imagine also the thousands who had already gotten into their cars or the subway, only to find out when they got to the Bell Center that they were blocked. The Canadiens have been assured that the move is only temporary by the Quebec government, and they will be allowed to have fans at the Bell Center in January with limited capacity. Maybe Quebec will choose something that reflects the policy in Ontario, where 50 percent capacity is allowed at events.

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The Omicron variant is going crazy, with cases doubling every three days. We are on the verge of the worst numbers of the entire pandemic in Quebec and beyond. Santé Quebec must have been aware of the projections that were much worse than previously thought, because this is felt at the last minute.

Across the NHL, the situation is bleak as well. There are 180 players who have had COVID-19 this year. Five teams have had to shut down their teams to recover. It’s very hard to imagine players heading to China for the Olympics, but that decision is still in favor of going as of Thursday.

The Canadiens, with no fans for Thursday night’s contest, played their first NHL game under that restriction this season.

Brian Wilde, a Montreal-based sports writer, brings you Call of the Wilde on after every Canadiens game.

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