The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Seattle Kraken last night looking to get back on track after a slow start against the Detroit Red Wings led to an overtime loss.
The Canadiens entered the game with a 10-11-3 record and 23 points in their first 24 games. They took on a similarly scuffling Kraken squad who were 8-11-6 when the puck dropped to begin last night’s game.
Here are 24 thoughts, observations and musings on the Canadiens 25th game of the season.
First Period Thoughts
Sam Montembeault got the start last night and he always seems to get the net when a struggling or low scoring team is on the schedule. I thought they were showcasing him to improve his stats for a trade, but with him already signing a contract extension last week I find it off they sat him against the Detroit Red Wings who are playing well this season and not against the Kraken who are playing poorly this season.
I thought Sean Monahan couldn’t find less offensive wingers than Josh Anderson and Tanner Pearson but last night he was on a line with Anderson and Jake Evans. Anderson has not scored a goal in his past 24 games this season and Evans hasn’t scored in his past 23. The team has played 24 games this season.
I don’t recall the Canadiens acquiring Jamie Oleksiak but he might add some offensive touch as he makes a great pass to Josh Anderson in the slot. It must be tempting for the zero goal scorer to shoot from everywhere but he made the right play and made a pass across to a wide open Monahan who opened the scoring.
Monahan needs to keep putting a few pucks in the net if the Canadiens want to get good value for him at the trade deadline. More than that he just needs to stay healthy and look like he can contribute as a third line center on a great team. He has certainly done that, though his offense dried up for a while. Still, if Lars Eller can get a second round pick at last year’s trade deadline, the Canadiens are getting at least that for Monahan, if not a lot more.
Mike Matheson was run into by the Kraken goaltender at like the hash marks and got a goaltender interference penalty for it. What exactly is he supposed to do when the goalie slides that far out of the net for no particular reason? It had to be ten feet outside the blue paint. If anything, the Kraken goalie interfered with Matheson who never touched the puck and was just gliding through the slot.
Juraj Slafkovksy has been promoted to the top line with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield and fits right in on the top line. He has won some board battles for puck possession, forced a turnover and made a smart little pass to Suzuki to create an excellent scoring chance late in the first. He is quickly becoming an impact player.
Montembeault had made some great saves, mostly with his left pad. The only thing he can move quicker than his left leg is his right hand to sign a contract that will guarantee he earns nearly $10 million over the next three seasons.
Even though he signed an extension, I still see Montembeault as a guy who splits starts over the next three seasons. The Canadiens still need someone to play the other 41 games. It might be Jake Allen next season but it certainly won’t be him for the next two, so the time seems right to move on from the veteran and see if Cayden Primeau can be their 1B guy for the next three years.