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
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Second Period Thoughts

The Canadiens lost their past seven games in Minnesota and continued that trend with a poor first period. The last time they won a game in Minnesota Benoit Pouliot set up Ryan White for a goal. That was not yesterday. Hopefully they can somehow reverse this trend after a tough first period.

The Wild have a pretty suffocating defensive scheme. Justin Barron is usually pretty creative on the breakout but he couldn't get out from behind his own net as the Wild had two forwards in the offensive zone taking away passing lanes, and three other players clogging up the neutral zone. Resulted in a little flip play from his own goal line that the Wild picked off at the blue line. I have heard of the 1-3-1, but this was like a 2-0-3? That'll be tough to penetrate.

Slafkovsky got a partial breakaway but just couldn't pull the trigger as he lost control trying to deke to the backhand. He has the size, and speed already, just needs to add that touch around the net and he is going to be a force.

The Canadiens had their first really good shift of the game nearly midway through the second period as they moved the puck well around the offensive zone. Kaiden Guhle showed some offensive smarts twice as he jumped into the attacking zone and had a decent scoring chance though the puck hopped over his stick as he tried to fire a one-timer. Then he jumped into the attacking zone in the opposite corner and drew a penatly as he was hauled down. His size and skating are tough to match.

Kaiden Guhle, who we just talked about in the offensive zone, absolutely destroys Kaprizov in the defensive zone with a hard, solid and clean body check. This guy is going to be a tower of power on the blue line for a long time. Just a dangerous player for the other team to face at both ends of the ice.

Brendan Gallagher gets called for.... tripping... but it was just a body check?

The Canadiens missed David Savard when he was out of the lineup. He made a great play while killing a penalty to take one passing land away with his body as he stretched out on the ice but then closed another passing lane as he knocked the puck down with his stick and cleared it away from the Habs net. The Canadiens have a lot of good young defenders, but none that are excellent penalty killers, at least not yet and they can learn a lot from Savard.

Justin Barron got rocked from behind late in the second period and appearently NHL refs have finally realized they are allowed to call that as a penalty. We have seen countless hits from behind lately and it is something the NHL needs to clean up before someone breaks their neck.