Two wins for the Canadiens against one win for the Kings. It’s not exactly a battle of the giants in Los Angeles on a rare Montreal matinee. The Canadiens are making some strides toward better hockey, although it can also be argued that it’s on the back of Jake Allen, who had a 45-save shutout in San Jose.
Montreal needed a win at Staples Center, but they had a lousy performance and were outscored at all times, losing 5-2.
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Let’s try a glass half full here for Cole Caufield. The Las Vegas favorite for the rookie of the year remains unmarked in nine games. However, he is much more around the album and is getting some quality looks. However, the unusual aspect is that his shot doesn’t seem to have as much in it, so maybe he’s suffering from a wrist injury or shoulder pain. That shot is an absolute sniper weapon as seen last year in Montreal and for two award-winning seasons in Wisconsin. However, he does not have the same profile this season. He doesn’t go into the upper corners like he can, and he doesn’t have the same speed either. That’s the bad new. The good news is that Caufield seems more comfortable. He seems to have stopped passing so often, seemingly giving in to his teammates like rookies often do.
Other than that, aside from Christian Dvorak’s good pass to Josh Anderson for his second of the season, there wasn’t much to look up to. Jake Allen was forced to make many difficult saves as the Canadiens were outmatched, but even he would admit that he would like to regain the first goal inside the seven-hole.
Defensively, no one else stood out. Offensively, no one else stood out. Just another day of Montreal low-event hockey that can’t create much and can’t defend much.
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All fans can hope for right now is the return of Joel Edmundson to give the Canadiens a genuine first pair of defenses. As it stands now, there is simply no one the head coach can put out there who can neutralize the best of the opposition, or consistently attack in the offensive zone.
Each pairing is a second pairing in a third pairing. There is no top match. If head coach Dominique Ducharme could rely on a top pair who could put in there 25 minutes per game that his team is in, that would make a huge difference.
As it stands now, shift after shift after shift, the Canadiens are the second best team. The Kings, bad as they are, kept up 50 seconds of pressure on some at-bats. There was one shift when Alexander Romanov and David Savard were on the ice for more than two minutes and couldn’t get out. They were exhausted. This only happens when all players cannot even get close to the bench.
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The forwards were supposed to be the strength of the team, but there is no link between the forwards and the defense, so nothing almost ever comes out of the rush. That should be one of the strengths of a team that supposedly relies on speed. However, when the club puts him in the offensive zone for a long time, often nothing comes out. Either the game stays on the perimeter and leads nowhere, or a disc battle is lost that leads nowhere.
With two wins in nine games, there will soon come a time when everyone will have to admit that it is what it is. That you are their record and that there isn’t a seven-game winning streak here to get the club back into playoff position. Sadly, the club already needs a great winning streak here to equalize again. Winning one and then losing one is no longer good enough, although that would be an overall improvement on how this feels.
It is disappointing because the club worked 20 years to be strong in the middle, and that lasted a season with the loss of two key players in the middle. Christian Dvorak has come in to be the center one or both centers, but he doesn’t seem to be able to impact the game in a positive way. He feels like an uninspiring gamer who is capable enough but doesn’t change a thing. Like his days with a lifelong loser in Arizona.
Not sure how this changes? Can’t you see in that mirror any notable course-changing events? The only possibility is that Edmundson’s return will give the team a much better first pair that can dominate at-bats; Instead of what we’re seeing now night after night
We will see. So far, it’s two and seven well deserved. It looks like most of the season will be about a tall draft pick.
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It’s interesting to see how the former Montreal Canadiens are doing this season. It is always a challenge for a general manager to know if he should continue to employ players who have a chance to leave. So far, Marc Bergevin has made no big mistakes.
The highest profile of the outings was Jesperi Kotkaniemi who signed for $ 6.1 million to play for Carolina this season. Kotkaniemi has a great opportunity in Raleigh to shine. The first-round Finn has played in seven games for the Hurricanes, who have a perfect record so far this season. Kotkaniemi has two goals and an assist that would put him on track for close to 16 goals. That would be his best NHL season. The only negative is that Carolina has 31 goals this season, which is the second best in the entire league and has only been involved in three. The fourth season is usually the decisive year for a player. So far, there is no breakup here, but again, Kotkaniemi is still so young that the breakup year may come later.
Bergevin also let go of Philip Danault, who wanted $ 500,000 more than the offer he apparently received. It’s not a huge monetary difference, but Danault will be 34 when the Los Angeles deal ends. It’s hard to believe that he will be an effective player at that age. Such a difficult time to contemplate the bottom line of a deal when you need profit now. The player the Canadiens miss the most so far this season is Danault. He faced the best centers in the league and stood out alongside Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar in a line that was in the top five in analysis each year. The loss of that line has made life difficult for Nick Suzuki, who is now forced to play against the best players from the other club. Danault, however, hasn’t shone at all for a Kings team among the worst in the entire league. In seven games, Danault has one goal and one assistant.
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The last player nobody talks about and who let Bergevin go is Tomáš Tatar. He signed with the New Jersey Devils for money that there was no way Bergevin would pay. Two years for $ 9 million was a high price to pay even if it was used in the playoffs, which it was not. However, Tatar is missed because the line was, in short, better than its parts for Montreal. Tatar has only three assists for the Devils so far this year.
All in all, Bergevin hasn’t made a mistake in letting the players go, except for the fact that the replacements aren’t winning many games. That also has to do with players not mentioned here like Carey Price, Shea Weber, Paul Byron and Joel Edmundson. Bergevin cannot remedy his absence.
Brian Wilde, a Montreal-based sports writer, brings you Call of the Wilde on globalnews.ca after every Canadiens game.
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