Montreal Canadiens: 24 Thoughts On Habs Weird Game 36

Dec 28, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki
Dec 28, 2023; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
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Third Period Thoughts

After Kovacevic's snipe in the second period, the Canadiens are tied with the Colorado Avalanche with the most goals by defensemen in the league with 28. The Canadiens are second last in the Eastern Conference in goals scored, so all this stat tells me is the Canadiens must have the lowest scoring forwards in the NHL.

The Lightning are a high scoring team but have surprisingly allowed more goals than they scored so far this season. They desperately need some cheap depth on the blue line and no one has more inexpensive talent on the blue line than the Canadiens. Could we see a crazy overpay for Arber Xhekaj or Jordan Harris? The Lightning like to give up an incredible number of draft picks for cheap talent like when they dealt 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th round picks and Cal Foote for Tanner Jeannot. Could the Habs land a haul for Harris?

The Canadiens do have to move a defenseman at some point, but who is it going to be? Lane Hutson will be here by season's end and joins a group that already has too many NHL caliber defender as Xhekaj is stuck in the minors. Could it be Xhekaj moved? Harris? Struble? Matheson? The only truly safe ones I think are Guhle because he looks like a top pairing guy in the making, Hutson because of his unnusual skill set and Barron because there aren't as many options on the right side.

Serge Savard made the Savardian spinorama famous but David Savard has an equally effective move at the blue line. He routinely does this move where he kind of fakes a shot and then controls the puck on his backhand with one hand on his stick as he moves to his left around an opposing player. He doesn't get a lot of credit for his offensive play, but there is some ability there.

Montembeault has made a couple of ridiculous saves in this game. Victor Hedman tried to blast a puck through him from about 25 feet and Branden Hagel had what appeared to be a full net to stuck the puck into until Montembeault dove across the crease like Marquis Grissom laying out to catch a short fly ball and stopped the puck. It was as nice as a save as you could ever see.

This game is kind of a microcosm of Montembeault's time with the Canadiens. Some phenomenal acrobatic saves mixed with a head scratching goal against. Usually the questionable goal against is because of him sliding out of the way as he overplays a chance, but last night's was just a whiff. If he can ever limit those bad ones against he would be a great goaltender.

Suzuki buried a goal from an almost impossible angle as the puck bounced to him at the side of the net. He was mostly behind the goal line but his stick was not and he fired a laser to the top corner after a Matheson point shot was stopped. I know everybody knows this, but when you focus on Suzuki's play for a while you just see a special player.

Canadiens led this game 2-0 but lost 4-3. They started this road trip 2-0-1 but since have gone 0-3-0. They have dropped from 15-13-5, while having us peek up at the wildcard spots to 15-16-5 and having us peek down at the draft lottery standings again. Ugh.