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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Third Period Thoughts

The Canadiens power play did not look great in the first forty minutes, but they connect early in the third to tie the game. It was Slafkovsky who got a shot through traffic and on goal and captain Nick Suzuki tucked in the rebound. Slafkovsky needs to keep shooting more on power play so the opposing team can't overload Caufield's side. A shooting threat from both sides of the ice would give the Canadiens a dangerous power play unit.

Heineman is showing no fear out there in his first NHL game. Not getting a ton of ice time but got in on the forecheck and took a big run at Zach Bogosian and finished off a big hit.

Joel Armia hooks, grabs and hangs on to a Wild player at the blue line for some reason and heads to the box. Just a few seconds into the power play Brock Faber fired a shot from the point that gave the Wild back their lead. Just a foolish penalty to take when the play wasn't in a dangerous area at all, and might have even been offside on the Wild. Weird to see a veteran player take such an obvious penalty at a crucial time in a game.

Jayden Struble got caught in his own end without a stick as he broke it. He was defending behind his own net and for some reason Johnathan Kovacevic decided to join him which left a Wild forward all alone in front and he got the puck with tons of time. Luckily, Montembeault kept it out of the net. Kovacevic has played well for the Canadiens and was a great waiver pickup, but the more games he plays, the more his warts show as his decision making can be questionable at times.

In football, they have a drill they do at the scouting combine called the shuttle run. Players essentially run as quickly as possible in different directions for short distances before changing direction. If they did an on-ice one at the NHL skills competition, I think Mike Matheson would be in the running to win it. He is so good at shaking a defener by just quickly reversing direction and accelerating almost effortlessly. He buys so much time and space all over the ice by just keeping the opposing players guessing which way he will go next.

When you are big and strong, sometimes good things happen just because you stand in front of the net and screen the other team's goalie. Juraj Slafkovsky is rewarded with a late goal as he just went to the net, got hit with a David Savard point shot that then redirected off a Wild defender and into the net. I know the numbers aren't there yet, but I love everything I see from Slafkovsky.

When the NHL changed to a hybrid icing, some linesmen seemed to forget that an important aspect of icing is that the puck actually crosses the goal line. The Canadiens "iced" the puck late in the third period, and Faber was moving about as slowly as an NHL skater can move chasing it down. He actually caught up to it at about the bottom of the circle but didn't touch it and they called it icing anyway. Faceoff back down in the Canadiens zone adn Caufield ended up being called for a hooking penalty as a result.

Nick Suzuki may have saved the game with an incredible shot block with about 1 second to play in regulation. He plays all situations, he scores goals, he gets the puck to Caufield with great passing and he sacrifices the body to block shots. Perfect choice for a captain.