Montreal Canadiens: 24 Thoughts On Habs Meek Effort In Game 34

Dec 28, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Montreal Canadiens Sean Monahan
Dec 28, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Montreal Canadiens Sean Monahan / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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The Montreal Canadiens emerged from their Christmas break last week and were back on the road as they took on the Carolina Hurricanes.

It was the team's 34th game of the season and they entered the night with a record of 15-13-5 and were surprisingly just four points out of a playoff spot.

Here are 24 thoughts on the Canadiens 34th game of the season.

First Period Thoughts

Cayden Primeau got the start as the three goaltender rotation took a rare night off of rotating. It is the first time all season that Primeau gets the call in consecutive games, though there were five days off in between.

The Canadiens have a chance to close out this road trip and really put themselves into a position to be closing in on a playoff spot. The Hurricanes are in a wildcard spot and were just five point ahead of the Habs at the start of last night's game. The Habs then head to Florida for a couple of games and began last night just four point back of Tampa Bay and the Panthers were seven points ahead. A couple of key wins to close out 2023 could push them within a point or two of a playoff spot.

Just 1:35 into the game and the Hurricanes took the lead as Andrei Svechnikov redirected a Brent Burns shot. The tip came just in front of the crease and moved the puck up and over Primeau's glove. The goaltender has been criticized for his glove hand but there was no chance to stop that one.

The Canadiens look pretty sluggish coming out of the Christmas break. They even had an extra day to sleep off the turkey coma as the Hurricanes played on Wednesday night but it is clear the home team is more ready for the start of this game. The Canadiens got the first power play of the game but were being outshot 7-2 when the call was made. When the penalty ended, the Canadiens were being outshot 7-2.

Jesper Fast extended the Canes lead to 2-0 when he redirected a pass from Sebastien Aho. I know it's only Jesper Fast, but someone may want to cover him when he is standing at the edge of his crease and is on the ice with Aho.

Mitchell Stephens got the Canadiens on the board as he flipped a rebound over Antti Raanta with a nifty backhander. Raanta used the never effective method of sliding across the crease with his mask touching the blue paint for some reason and it left a lot of room for Stephens to find the back of the net. Heck of a play by Jesse Ylonen who beat out an icing call with great hustle and then got the puck to Jayden Struble at the point which led to the goal.

Martin St. Louis made a great decision to challenge a goal that was scored by the Hurricanes. Jack Drury skated into the crease, made contact with Primeau's skate which did not allow him to get his pad down, and then redirected the puck into the net with his own skate. The contact was fairly minimal but it did stop Primeau from doing what he intended to stop the puck so it was the correct call to challenge it, though always a risky proposition.

Of course, seconds after the disallowed goal, the refs made a weak interference call on Jayden Struble on a play that is almost never called. But, Rod Brind'Amour yelled at them a lot for calling back the Canes goal so they gift him with a power play.