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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Third Period Thoughts

The Canadiens had five days off heading into this game and the Hurricanes played last night. The Habs were able to take over a lot of the play in the second half of the second period and you would expect that to continue with them down a goal entering the third period.

Within the first 25 seconds of the third period, Primeau made a great save, Jake Evans made a key shot block and Josh Anderson blocked a point shot to eliminate Hurricanes offense, Anderson quickly turned his shot block into a breakaway as he used his blazing speed to leave the defensive zone and leave everyone in his dust. He showed tremendous confidence by deking to the backhand and just slid the puck through the legs of Raanta and barely over the line to tie the game. A lot of great plays in the defensive zone led to that goal.

Canadiens youngsters showing a lot of confidence early in the third period. Jayden Struble went into the corner in the defensive zone with Sebastien Aho and decided not to fall for any of the fancy headfakes and just pinned the star center to the boards and kicked the puck away from him to take possession of the puck. In the offensive zone, it was Juraj Slafkovsky taking out Brent Burns with a body check and stole the puck away from the Norris Trophy candidate.

Just seeing those young Canadiens players on the ice with the experienced, All-Star caliber Canes should have been a huge matchup advantage to the home team but it was the young Canadiens using their size to win battles and take the puck away from much more experienced players.

Speaking of Slafkovsky and Struble.... both of them showed more confidence carrying the puck in the neutral and attacking zone and each of them drew a penalty early in the third period as the Hurricanes struggled to get the puck off them due to their combination of size and speed. Slafkovsky's going to be a great player and Struble is not going anywhere either.

Mike Matheson had put up a lot of points for a defenseman this season and that comes with some risk for sure. But turning the puck over twice withing seconds on the same power play because you are trying to do too much at the offensive blue line is not worth the risk. Credit to him for getting back to harass Seth Jarvis just enough to take away a terrific scoring chance and Nick Suzuki for coming all the way back to take control of the puck on the other turnover. It didn't kill them, but those risky plays by Matheson when he is the last man back are not a good habit.

Primeau made a great save off Jack Drury on a clear breakaway, but Andrei Svechnikov fired a one-timer past him just after the ensuing faceoff. Justin Barron seemed to have cut off the pass to Svechnikov but it somehoe snuck through him and he somehow did not block the shot either as the puck just eluded him and then beat Primeau.

The Canadiens continue to decline covering Hurricanes players in the slot and Jordan Staal was absolutely robbed by Primeau on a quickly developing one-timer from the middle of the slot. It was a great effort from Primeau but it went for naught as the Canadiens fell 5-3 after Svechnikov completed his hat trick with an empty netter.