Montreal Canadiens: 24 Thoughts On Habs Heartbreak In Game 32

Dec 21, 2023; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman David Savard
Dec 21, 2023; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman David Savard / Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 3

The Montreal Canadiens inched closer to the Christmas break last night with a game on the road against the Minnesota Wild. They started this road trip off with an overtime win against the Winnipeg Jets and now look to creep a little closer to a playoff spot.

Here are 24 thoughts on the Habs 32nd game of the season.

First Period Thoughts

Sam Montembeault got the start for the Canadiens after Jake Allen defeated the Jets earlier this week. This means Cayden Primeau's sole appearance in the month of December remains a 46 save on 48 shot victory over the Buffalo Sabres nearly two weeks ago.

Emil Heineman made his NHL debut on the fourth line with Jesse Ylonen and Mitchell Stephens. He has a heck of a shot and some offensive instincts that translated immediately to the AHL level when he arrived last season. Hopefully he can add some scoring punch for the Canadiens.

Nick Suzuki tried to get a pass across to Juraj Slafkovsky on a 2-on-1 and it was knocked away, negating any scoring chance. If that happened the other way and it was Slafkovsky who elected to pass instead of shoot, he would be crucified in the media and they would say he isn't smart enough to play on the top line. But, sometimes plays just don't work when you are facing NHL opposition who are also really good.

A great defensive play by Mike Matheson took away a terrific scoring chance by Marco Rossi who appeared to be in alone. Matheson gets deserved credit for his ability to join the offensive attack and add points, but he showed some defensive poise with a perfectly timed poke check to knock the puck away from a talented youngster.

A scrum in front of the Canadiens net lead to a Wild power play as David Savard was given the only penalty. Matt Boldy takes advantage as he fired home a one-timer on a perfect cross ice pass from Kirill Kaprizov. Johnathan Kovacevic moved up high in the defensive zone and no one really covered for him down low which left Boldy wide open in the slot for the goal.

You have to wonder if the couple of shots Savard gave out in the scrum were really worth putting the team down a man...

Matheson made another terrific defensive play to save a goal by blocking a shot when Montembeault was down and out. The Wild were clearly offside entering the zone, but it was still a great play. Seconds later, the Wild entered the zone seemingly offside again and Marco Rossi scored off the rush. A lengthy review after a Canadiens challenge showed Kaprizov's skate entered the zone at exactly the same time as the puck and the Habs were charged a penalty as the goal counted. Had the linesman just called the obvious first offside none of this would have happened.

Just three shots on goal for the Canadiens in the opening period which is a pretty disappointing effort. They did look pretty decent early on but were not able to create many chances and need to dig out of a sizeable hole against a Wild team that has been allowing about two goals per game since their new head coach took over.