Montreal Canadiens: 24 Thoughts On Habs Starting All-Star Break A Week Early

Jan 23, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) plays the puck
Jan 23, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (14) plays the puck / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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The Montreal Canadiens were at the Bell Centre last night hosting the Ottawa Senators in the 47th game of their season.

The Canadiens entered the game with a record of 19-20-7 putting them just below .500 points percentage and could get back to a pace of 82 points with a win which is a place they have been hovering around all season.

Here are 24 thoughts on the team's midweek meeting with their division rival.

First Period Thoughts

Jake Allen got the start in goal with his 5-8-2 record and 3.49 GAA with a .901 SV%. How have the Habs allowed this three goalie system to go on for this long? Has Allen really be so good that you can't let him go? I don't think so.

The Canadiens have an odd lineup as they placed Mitchell Stephens on waivers and are left with just three centers. This seems shortsighted as they have three games in five days this week. Why didn't they just pull a Toronto Maple Leafs and keep Tanner Pearson on injured reserve even though he is healthy for another week?

Jayden Struble jumped up into the play while the teams were briefly playing four on four and he just looks so comfortable and poised with the puck. He received a quick pass on the rush in the slot and without hesitation made a no look backhand pass directly to Josh Anderson who just missed the net. It was an incredible play by Struble who somehow had just 12 points in 31 college games last season.

The Canadiens have forgotten how to play defense. Two quick goals for the Senators were scored in the middle of the first period because the Habs had no idea who to cover in their own zone and players were given way too much time and space in the middle of the slot. After allowing 15 goals in their past two games, including six against these Sens recently, things are not getting any better in the defensive zone.

Why do so many bad teams have the Canadiens number? Remember a few years ago the Red Wings were historically bad and the Habs missed the playoffs by a couple points because they lost like four or five times to the Red Wings? The Sharks have been terrible for years but win every time they come to the Bell Centre. The Senators thought their rebuild was over three years ago (it was not and is still not) but they have won seven in a row against the Canadiens.

Josh Norris pulled a Tim Stutzle and dropped like he was hit by a truck when Mike Matheson barely tapped him on the chin as they battled for a puck.

David Savard made a great play to break up a cross ice pass on the Sens power play late in the first period. The Canadiens may get pretty enticing trade offers for Savard but he is seemingly the only defender on the team capable of stopping the other team from firing the puck across the Canadiens zone with ease.

Not a very encouraging period for the Canadiens after being awful defensively for the past two games. You start to get the feeling a long losing streak could be on the horizon when they fail to muster much offense and also allow some great scoring opportunities in their own zone.