The Montreal Canadiens came in on Monday night hoping to build on their three game winning streak but were unable to hold onto their lead nor take advantage of their powerplays against the Arizone Coyotes who bested them 3-2.
Jake Evans wasted no time in just his third game in the NHL by scoring his first career goal in the first minute of the matchup. Brendan Gallagher wanted in on the early scoring, extending the Montreal Canadiens lead to 2-0. It seemed as though the Coyotes were unable to keep up with the Habs.
Derek Stepan responded for the Arizona Coyotes not too long after the 15-minute mark on a shot that deflected off Max Domi’s stick and into the with Carey Price stumbling on the save. Certainly one Price would like to have back.
The Habs had several powerplays to do some damage in the remainder of the first but were not able to capitalize so the back and forth between both teams continued.
At the 1:46 mark, Habs rookie Nick Suzuki took a high stick to the face, giving the Habs a four minute power play. Armia then quickly drew a penalty giving the Habs a 5 on 3 advantage that would go into the second period. The Habs launched a flurry of shots on the powerplay in the remaining moments of the first but were unable to capitalize.
Jonathan Drouin looks to be further settling into the Habs lineup with smoother strides and passes, even taking a relatively hard shot on a one-timer during the powerplay which is nice too see considering how much time he’s missed.
Patience will be key until he gets back to where he was in November but if Drouin continues this place, it won’t be long until the production picks up again.
Lopsided Period for the Coyotes
The second period didn’t start the way the Habs would have envisioned as a missed shot by Tomas Tatar went straight into teammate Philip Danault’s face. The fact that Danault needed help getting off the ice by the medical team may be a sign that it may be more than just a blood wound.
The Coyotes played a better overall game in the period but Carey Price was able to shut them down early on, keeping the Habs in the game.
If the Habs were going to start building on their 2-1 lead, they would have to start shooting a lot more as the Coyotes started controlling the pace of the game.
Taylor Hall was the one to tie up the game 2-2 at the 3:22 mark as the Canadiens offense looked to have completely dried out and shots being completely lopsided in the Coyotes favor at 26-12. The Habs finished the period with a mere three shots on goal.
Speaking of a lack of offense, per TSN 690’s Dan Robertson, in the last 19 games played by the Montreal Canadiens, they have gone 5/56 on the power play for a success rate of 8.9%. Very reminiscent of 2018-19 where the struggling power play ended up being the Habs’ Achilles heel.
More Shots, No Goals for the Habs
Max Domi started the third period as a centre for the top line with Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar due to Philip Danault not returning to the game. Jonathan Drouin then showed off his stick handling and almost got one past Raanta but was not able to finish.
The Coyotes were applying pressure for the first half of the third, making any opportunities for the Habs slim to none but the shots later swung the other way as the Habs had 14 of the 19 shots in the period.
With a minute remaining, Coyotes defenceman Jakob Chychrun gave his team a 3-2 lead. The Habs pulled Price in one last effort to tie up the game but had no such luck.
Losing Philip Danault appeared to shake up the Montreal Canadiens for the entirety of the second period and it looks as though they never fully recovered, even with the shot advantage in the third.
Injuries that Can Cost the Montreal Canadiens
Shea Weber will miss at least another week’s worth of games in the Habs last push for the playoffs and it’s still unclear if Philip Danault will miss any significant time. Missing both their top pairing defenceman and first line centreman is coming at the worst possible time as the Habs have been gaining momentum in the past few games.
The Montreal Canadiens will face their rivals the Boston Bruins on Wednesday at 7:30 PM.