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GAME #20 – RUNNING ON EMPTY – New Jersey-4 Canadiens-3 (Overtime) Nov. 16, 2019

I wonder what Vladislav Tretiak thought as he watched this farce unfold at the Bell Centre Saturday night. The former Soviet superstar goaltender must be wondering just what has become of the world’s best hockey league if this is the kind of show they put on.

The Canadiens weren’t bad in this game, they were awful. Even worse than the New Jersey Devils. But we expect the Devils to be bad. They came into the game ranked 29th in the overall league standings but still were able to skate away with a 4-3 overtime comeback win. They probably should have easily won the game in regulation time but for some terrific work from Canadiens backup goaltender Keith Kinkaid.

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GAME #19 – TOTAL EFFORT – Canadiens-5 Washington-2 (Nov. 15, 2019)

We’ve mentioned it before. The Canadiens need to have a good November in order to cushion themselves for the difficult December the NHL schedule maker has presented them with.

So far so good. With their impressive 5-2 win over the league-leading Capitals in Washington, the Canadiens are now on a 7-1-1 roll. Not only have the Canadiens been beating the league’s have-nots, they have also taken on some of the elite. During the nine game stretch, along with Washington they have also beaten Boston, Vegas and Toronto. They now have an 11-5-3 record which has propelled them into fourth place in the Eastern Conference and second place in the Atlantic Division just three points behind the Bruins.

They are going to need whatever November brings them because in December the schedule calls for ten of thirteen games on the road including the last seven over that Christmas Bell Centre holiday ice-show break.

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GAME #18 – FROM THE JAWS OF DEFEAT – Canadiens-3 Columbus-2 (Shootout) Nov. 12, 2019

The Canadiens had the goaltender. In a nutshell that was the difference in the Canadiens 3-2 shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

Why do teams insist on playing down to the level of their opponents. It’s the unanswerable question asked in professional sport for decades.

Columbus came in to Montreal with only three wins in regulation time this season. The Canadiens played them as if somehow they both belonged in the same NHL sandbox. It’s not the first time the Canadiens have laid an egg against a have-not. Remember Detroit? And Minnesota?

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GAME #17 – GRINDING IT OUT – Canadiens-3 Los Angeles-2 (Nov. 9, 2019)

The month of November has been listed as critical to hopes for the Canadiens regaining a berth in the playoffs. Of the thirteen games on the schedule, eight are against teams who currently are not in a playoff position and based on the way they’re playing are not likely to be around when the playoffs begin in April.

That doesn’t mean, in the parity driving NHL of today, that it’s going to be easy to win the lion’s share of those games. The Canadiens were reminded of that Saturday night with their narrow 3-2 win over the 30th ranked Los Angeles Kings. The league’s bottom feeders are generally forced to grind it out against superior opposition. The Canadiens matched the Kings grinders and thanks to some more good goaltending and their power play they have a pretty nice 5-1-1 streak going.

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GAME #16 – AN UNEARNED POINT – Philadelphia-3 Canadiens-2 (Overtime) Nov. 7, 2019

There were two things to consider in summing up Thursday night’s game in Philadelphia.

Number one was the brilliant work of Carey Price.. Number two, the lousy effort put in by the Canadiens in support of Price.

The game was an inexplicable reversal of Tuesday night’s win over the Bruins in which Price’s work was criticized and the play in front of him was outstanding. We’re seeing an early season pattern of the Canadiens following a well executed win with a terrible team effort.

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