Call of the Wilde: The Montreal Canadiens outscored the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime 3-2 – Montreal | The Canadian News

The Montreal Canadiens have gone from 12 days off to two games in two nights. The Canadiens were in Chicago Thursday night to take on a Blackhawks team that was playing better than it did at the start of the season.

Montreal, with the worst record in the entire league, is happy at this point to freeze an entire roster while 24 players, one by one, continue to recover from COVID-19.

The Hawks beat the Canadiens in overtime 3-2.

wild horses

It’s hard to believe, but it was the moment Jeff Petry had been waiting for since the first of May. Petry eventually scored a goal.

It was the first in 54 games. No one knows what happened to Petry since last season’s playoffs, but a different player has been in a Canadiens uniform than the one who drew the stars’ attention last season when he was one of the best defenders in the league.

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Petry pushed from his right wing position to grab a rebound from about 20 feet and hit a shot into the top corner that went past Marc Andre Fleury. After a horrible first period, the Canadiens were tied at one.

They then picked up the momentum thanks to a tremendous strike from Alexander Romanov. He was perfectly clean. He pierced Sam Lafferty with his shoulder. There was no head contact. Romanov’s shoulder didn’t even hit Lafferty’s face or head. He couldn’t have been cleaner.

However, in this silly league that is the NHL, Romanov is suddenly mugged by Ryan Carpenter. Now it would be correct to single out Carpenter here as a complete idiot for giving the Canadiens the power play and committing misconduct as well. However, Carpenter is like everyone else in the league. It is league-wide practice to jump a player for a clean hit. This is so stupid.

The Canadiens capped Carpenter’s stupidity with a power play goal. It was Cole Caufield who got an assist on Mike Hoffman’s wicked shot up for his first goal in 13 games.

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In the third period, the Canadians played well again, since only the first one was a disaster in this one. They forced extra time with a heavy kill in the last three minutes. Artturi Lehkonen worked hard. Nick Suzuki proved that he is worthy of the stellar nod from him. Ryan Poehling went to the front of the net as if he had to succeed. Alexander Romanov will be a valuable regular for many years to come in the league. There were some positive aspects.

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However, the Canadiens lost in the extra five minutes when the puck went in after the goal was off its tethers. That’s the rule. You don’t see it often, but for Montreal it’s been that kind of season.

Still, it was a good effort from the Canadians.

wild goats

The Canadiens’ No. 1 defensive pairing is David Savard and Ben Chiarot, at least one assumes that’s the No. 1 pairing. It’s hard to count.

Early in the first period, the Canadiens appeared to be in control at one turn, until Jonathan Toews on his own blue line looked up. What he saw was such an open sea on the Canadiens Blue Line that it seemed as if Savard and Chiarot had been taking instructions from Moses. Toews made a soft pass to Dominik Kubalik. He scored in a clear breakaway over Sam Montembeault.

And we went to another edition of Montreal plays hockey to catch up.

The Canadiens had a rough first period, they just weren’t ready from kickoff again. Montreal did not get its first shot on goal until after 2:30 p.m. of the contest. It was a footer 55 from the blue line.

The Canadiens finished the first half with just two shots. That included a power play where they couldn’t shoot to make it 25 straight power plays without a goal in the last 10 games.

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It’s hard to know what the point is right now for the Canadiens, organizationally. It has to be to give the kids some ice time who are expected to be NHL players next season. However, Cole Caufield and Ryan Poehling had four minutes of ice in the first half. That was the lowest among forwards on the team.

Laurent Dauphin, who won’t be in the NHL next season, was tied for first with Nick Suzuki with six minutes. It’s a small sample size, but it’s completely illogical.

Yes, this season is over from a ranking point of view, but you can prepare a bit for the next season.

Click to play video: 'Wilde's call!'

Wilde’s call!

Wilde’s call!

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wild cards

It’s been a disappointing season for just about every Montreal Canadiens player, but the one who stands out as the most disappointing is Cole Caufield. He was picked in Las Vegas for NHL rookie of the year, but he won’t get a single vote when voting is over.

No doubt fans are bummed out overall, but there are so many mitigating factors that we haven’t really gotten a real representation of what Caufield can do at the NHL level yet.

It would be perfect if he could return to Laval to find himself in the league he belongs to, but with up to 24 players on Covid protocols out of the 48 contracted in the organisation, there is no way a trip to Place Bell could happen. He was needed as a player in Montreal as much as he was needed as a body to put on the jersey.

So we have to let the organization off the hook from a development point of view. He has had to be an NHLer simply because of an impossible numbers game.

Caufield has two free passes this season from a production standpoint. The first pass he receives is because he is playing for a team that cannot score goals. In goals per game this season, the Canadiens are dead last. You can’t expect a rookie to pull the club out of a goal desert; rookies don’t do that. More than any other player, a rookie needs help finding his way.

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If the club scores only two goals per game, it is very unlikely that the rookie will get one of them. However, the club have 74 goals this season in 35 games, so they should have a part of them, so what is going on here?

When Caufield won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey, he scored one goal per game. He did it thanks to an unsustainable shooting percentage at any level. He shot 18 percent his senior year, unprecedented at the college level. It’s not possible at the NHL level for a full season, so the shooting percentage, of course, was expected to go down.

He has an excellent shot, but NHL goalies are much better than college goalies. The average shooting percentage in the NHL is 9. With your shooting, you should at least be able to hit this number. He now has 65 shots in 27 games for just 2.5 shots per game. To show how it has deteriorated for him recently, at the beginning of the year, he was taking nearly four shots a game. His game is getting poorer from a shooting point of view.

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However, even at 2.5 shots per game, Caufield should be scoring, at least some of the time. Not so fast. Not with a 1.5 shooting percentage. A 50-foot defenseman like David Savard does 1.5. Not Cole Caufield. If Caufield were shooting at normal NHL potential, which, considering the quality of his shot, he should easily pull off, then Caufield would score a goal every four games.

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He would be a 20 goal scorer in the NHL if he simply meant an average average number. And that’s not a gift to him. He should be better than an average number with the accuracy and power of his shot that he has shown at every level.

No one wants to hear a final synopsis from Caufield on a team that can’t score, no one with talent really sets him up with a great look, and he’s very unlucky with nothing he’s laying off. It seems like excuses are being made for him, but that’s what’s going on here.

Thats the reality. He’s on a low-scoring team surrounded by low-scoring linemates, and when he gets a shot, he’s cooled off. Everything adds up to a single goal this season.

It is the worst season for the Montréal Canadiens in their history. It’s better that one of their brightest prospects in years also suffers ignominy.

Hey, it can only get better. It is almost impossible to do worse.

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

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