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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Third Period Thoughts

The Canadiens shook up their lines to start the third period with Josh Anderson moving up to the top trio with Suzuki and Caufield. They immediately got a great scoring chance but Korpisalo abolsutley robbed Caufield off a one timer. Maybe too little too late but good to see some spark to start the third.

Speaking of Josh Anderson, he is playing in his 500th career game. He has had his ups and downs in Montreal but that is an impressive accomplishment. And his current contract has him signed up for about another 800 games so he will go for the all time record with the Canadiens.

Arber Xhekaj was called up a day earlier and he looked good in his first game back. He had 11 points in 17 games with the Laval Rocket and looked calm and poised with the puck last night. Again, I don't know how they get their current crop of defenders down to just six in a couple years, but Xhekaj has that element of toughness and feistiness mixed with skill that is hard to find.

Joel Armia was using his size to win battles on the penalty kill and helped create a couple of scoring chances as well. I don't think he was the Canadiens best forward but uhhh, he wasn't far off either. Good for him but that isn't a great spot to be for the team.

Less than half a period to play and Michael Pezzetta has played less than two minutes. Why keep him on the roster to just sit on the bench while Mitchell Stephens is not playing? Stephens can actually play center and the Canadiens are trying to run with three tonight. This makes zero sense.

Johnathan Kovacevic, a waiver claim depth defenseman and sometimes healthy scratch has as many goals as Jake Sanderson and just one less than Jakob Chychrun.

Juraj Slafkovsky needs to just blast the puck sometimes. He really tends to look for the pass no matter what and got burned late in last night's game. He had a tremendous opportunity to shoot but deferred to Anderson but the pass was cut off and the Senators clinched the game with an empty netter a few seconds later.

The Canadiens lost their 8th straight to the Senators which is embarrassing enough. They looked pretty much disinterested for 40 minutes before turning it on in the third period. You would think 20 minutes of hockey would be enough to beat the Senators but that was not the case.