Montreal Canadiens: 24 Thoughts On Habs Looking Uninterested In Game 35

Dec 30, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA;  Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen (27) scores a goal
Dec 30, 2023; Sunrise, Florida, USA; Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen (27) scores a goal / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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The Montreal Canadiens took on the Florida Panthers last night in their 35th game of the season. The Habs returned from their Christmas break on Thursday night with a bit of a lacklustre effort in a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Canadiens need to close out this road trip well if they want to hang around the Eastern Conference playoff race, and a trip south to face the Panthers and Tampa ay Lightning will not be easy.

Here are 24 thoughts on the Canadiens 35th game of the year.

First Period Thoughts

Jake Allen starts tonight for the Canadiens after Cayden Primeau was in goal for each of the past two games. That means Sam Montembeault signed a three-year contract earlier this month and sat out three consecutive games later in the same month. That's gotta be some kind of a record doesn't it?

Josh Anderson got a scoring chance just seconds into the game but he can't quite get a shot off after chipping the puck in behind the Panthers defender and driving to the net. You love to see that from Anderson after such a touch start to this season. When he is confident and playing well he is difficult to handle and he looked difficult to handle on his first shift last night.... perhaps he even should have drawn a penalty but we can't start complaining about refs already.

Michael Pezzetta gets into a fight and though this part of the game is dying, it is an element that is great to have on a team. The lack of respose a couple night ago when Juraj Slafkovsky was run over was notable so with Arber Xhekaj still in the minors, it will be up to Pezzetta to keep opposing players, like say.. Nick Cousins, honest.

Pezzetta is also the kind of player that can play a hard working, grinding style and make opponents earn everything they get while he is on the ice. He doesn't have an ounce of offense in his game but he doesn't hurt the Canadiens with his play either like many tough guys.... Ryan Reaves!

The Canadiens power play was pretty good to start the season, wasn't it? My oh my they look lost out there trying to get the puck through the neutral zone.

Speaking of the lost ship of a power play, is anyone else kind of sick of Mike Matheson's high risk maneuvers at the blue line? He just refuses to make simple plays, and while it often works and he looks like Paul Coffey, it is starting to go the other way more often and his turnovers make him look more like Paul Mara. Luckily it was Nick Cousins this time and he couldn't convert on a breakaway.

The Panthers played with six skaters for a little while to derail a Canadiens rush late in the period. That seems like the kind of thing that should be penalized as it gives a team quite the advantage if they can just toss an extra skater out there.

That was one of the least eventful periods of hockey the Canadiens played this season. No goals, only a handful of shots on goal for each team and not many scoring chances at all. If it weren't for Matheson's turnover there might not have been any Grade A chances at all.