Montreal Canadiens: 24 Thoughts On Habs Uneven Effort vs Penguins

Dec 13, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN;
Dec 13, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre last night. The team had a couple of days off after a busy three games in four nights over last weekend.

That ended with a lacklustre 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators at home as the team looked a little drained. With a couple of nights off they looked refreshed, coming out flying against the surprisingly struggling Penguins who were tied in points with the Habs heading into the contest, though the Canadiens played one more game.

Here are 24 thoughts on the Canadiens 29th game of the season.

First Period Thoughts

Sam Montembeault gest the start and this continues the three goaltender rotation. He last played a week ago against the Los Angeles Kings and then Cayden Primeau faced the Buffalo Sabres and then Jake Allen got the call against the Nashville Predators and now we are back to Montembeault.

This whole goalie rotation is starting to feel a little bit like a peewee team. It is not great to have a goalie play every third game, but it wasn't great early in the season when Primeau was barely playing at all. I am beating a dead horse but the whole situation just doesn't work and the Canadiens need to fix it.

Jesse Ylonen has a lot of tools to be a successful NHL player. He is fast, he is smart, he has a wicked shot and he is well positioned defensively. I really don't think playing him with Michael Pezzetta and Mitchell Stephens is the best spot as I see a player who can be a decent two-way threat if given the chance. He should be up the lineup higher with a center like Sean Monahan or even Christian Dvorak to give him a chance at adding some scoring.

David Savard picked off a Penguins pass right at the blue line and walked into the slot before firing home a quick snap shot. He followed it up with another scoring chance on a pass from Cole Caufield. He has been extremely active in the offensive zone all night. He hasn't piled up points since joining the Habs but has a bit more offense to his game than anyone gives him credit for. Teams are going to be calling about his availability ahead of the trade deadline.

The Penguins defense looks unorganized and confused. The Habs are just zipping around their zone with the puck and have never found it this east to cut into the slot and fire shots on net. Maybe they will want a veteran defender like David Savard.

Jayden Struble would have been described as a stay at home defender with a massive physical presence at the college level. He made a rush last night that made him look like a young Erik Karlsson. He carried the puck out from behind his own net, flew through the neutral zone with possession, deked around one defender and wisely protected the puck before chipping it to a teammate and then heading to the Penguins goal. The puck came back to him and he hammered in his second career goal.

Kaiden Guhle had a run of games earlier this season where he looked like a Chris Pronger clone. Big, fast and physical while producing offense and limiting scoring chances in his own end. He hasn't been at that same level for the last couple games. Development is never linear and this is a bump in the road he can learn from. I would have thought he already knew turning the puck over to Sidney Crosby near his own goal crease was a bad idea, but that is a lesson he had to learn the hard way last night.

Sean Monahan, proof that no season's are completely consistent and we shouldn't be worried about Guhle's little blip, scored his third goal and fourth point in five games after going goalless in 12 and pointless in nine.