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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Second Period Thoughts

The Canadiens took a couple of early penalties in the second period. That sends out a power play that features Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Erik Karlsson which ranks.... 28th?!?! in the league. I see the Karlsson experiment has not exactly gone smoothly to start the season.

The Canadiens oddly send all four players behind their own net to try and win a puck battle.... they don't and this Sidney Crosby fella gets the puck to a wide open Jake Guentzel. They fire the puck back and forth to each other before Guentzel blasts home a one-timer to pull the game within one. Maybe don't send every player on the ice behind the net while shorthanded next time?

Josh Anderson finally scored a goal this season but he may never beat an NHL goaltender again. He hasd four or five different attempts at what appeared to be a wide open net but he couldn't get it to go over the line. Alex Nedejo... Alex Nejdeko.... Alex Nedelekoo... Tristan Jarry's backup somehow reached his pad across the crease and stopped every Anderson chance.

Juraj Slafkovsky gets called for a super soft hooking call and this 11% Pens power play gets back to work. Crosby fires a shot from from the high slot that is redirected in front and the Habs 3-1 lead has dissolved into a 3-3 game. I think this Crosby guy is going to stick around the NHL for a while yet.

Speaking of Slafkovsky, he is getting chances and creating but not finding the back of the net. That is great, but it feels like we have been talking about the goals that are eventually going to come for a long time now. At some point, those goals and assists have to start actually happening. How growth is undeniable, but the next step now is to start getss actual points instead of chances and we need to see a bit of that soon.

Gustav Lindstrom and Johnathan Kovacevic can't be enjoying watching Struble these days. I wouldn't say either Lindstrom or Kovacevic have played exceptional lately, while Struble looks like a seasoned veteran in his 11st career game. With Jordan Harris returning soon, and able to play the right side comfortably, I don't see a role for Lindstrom at all and Kovacevic is in danger of becoming a healthy scratch.

The Canadiens were lucky not to fall behind heading into the third period. The puck was fired at the net and went in off Crosby but it was a fraction of a second after the buzzer. A rounding error throughout the period saved them a goal against.

Crosby caught former Canadiens (and Penguins) winger Mark Recchi for 13th all-time in NHL points in the second period. The Canadiens have been a big help as Crosby now has 62 points in 47 career games against the Habs.