Montreal Canadiens: 24 Thoughts On Habs Falling Flat vs Predators

Dec 10, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN;
Dec 10, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Nashville Predators for the only time this season last night.

First Period Thoughts

David Savard surprisingly makes his return to the lineup after missing about six weeks. He starts the game next to Mike Matheson and hopefully is ready for a lot of ice time as Matheson played nearly 30 minutes last night. Habs are still dealing with a number of injuries, including blue liners Jordan Harris and Chris Wideman but it is also good to see someone return to health.

Michael Pezzetta was busy on his first shift of the game. He is looking fresh after being a healthy scratch last night. He took a healthy run at a Predators defender along the side boards and then got in on the forecheck and landed another hit on a Preds defenseman. We could have used some of that Saturday night against the Sabres.

Brendan Gallagher is allowed to draw penalties?!?! He gets cross checked from behind at the top of the Predators crease as the puck was headed in his direction. An obvious minor penalyy if there was even one but I just thought it would go uncalled since it was Gallagher on the receiving end. Refs must have mistaken him for Jake Evans.

Ahh, a weak makeup call goes against Juraj Slafkovsky as the refs make up for their mistake. They know they can't call a penalty when Gallagher is on the receiving end. And now to really make up for it, Gallagher is headed to the box after being tangled up with Tyson Barrie just a couple of minutes later.

The Predators opened the scoring on the power play as Colton Sissons (you can really only hope to contain him) tipped in a Filip Forsberg shot. The Habs defense kind of just let Sissons hang out in behind them and Jake Allen couldn't see the puck being shot at all.

The Canadiens power play is just spinning around in the neutral zone. I am not a special teams coach at the NHL level (or any level) but this seems like a poor setup. Didn't they score yesterday when Suzuki just skated into the zone really fast with the puck?

Three penalties per side made for a weird opening 20 minutes. The Canadiens can go a lot of games without getting three power plays so getting the man advantage this often had them out of sorts it seems. Both teams played last night and had to travel a short distance for this game so that is no excuse for the Canadiens. Just hard to get into a rhythm with all those penalty calls.

Oddly. Joel Armia played less than two minutes at even strength as there was often someone in the box and his number wasn't called as the team's fourth line winger when the team's were both at full strength.