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Category: St. John’s IceCaps

GAME #9 – HITTING THE WALL – Minnesota-4 Canadiens-3 (Oct. 20, 2019)

Call it diminishing return.  When you play four games in six nights wit the final three in four nights, chances of retaining excellence are remote, especially when the final two games are on the road with travel.  At the end of it all, the Canadiens gave it a pretty good shot before hitting the wall late in Sunday’s 4-3 loss in Minnesota.  In the final 12 minutes the Wild brew away a Canadiens 3-2 lead with to quick goals to win the game 4-3.  the Canadiens finish their four game week with a split and head into next week with a record of 4-3-2 after nine games.  

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GAME #8 – SWEEPING THE CHAMPS – Canadiens-5 St. Louis-2 (Oct. 19, 2019)

Twice over an eight day span the Canadiens convincingly defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.   That’s that for the season.  The Canadiens won’t see them again unless by some twist of fate they meet in next June’s Cup final.

While the Canadiens have come out of training with a few unresolved problems, it seems like the Blues have more of them.  They were exposed by the speed of the Canadiens in their two meetings, which by the way are the only two St. Louis losses this season in regulation time.  Generally these things get corrected over time.  When they are, the rest of the league will have deal with the Blues.  The Canadiens have a season sweep in the books.  

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GAME #7 – A NIGHT OF FIRSTS – Canadiens-4 Minnesota-0 (Oct. 17, 2019)

It’s that age-old chicken/egg question. Were the Canadiens that good in their 4-0 win or was Minnesota that bad?

Respectfully I submit, they were that bad. And not surprisingly bad. With this loss Minnesota has started the season with one win in seven games. For the Canadiens all it took was those three goals in the span of 4:46 late in the first period. The rest of the game Minnesota managed only 11 shots on goal, making Carey Price’s 45th career shutout a walk in the park.

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GAME #6 – COSTLY BREAKDOWN – Tampa Bay-3 Canadiens-1 (Oct. 15, 2019)

For the game’s first sixteen minutes the Canadiens were pretty good. For the next seven minutes they weren’t. By the time they regained form against the Tampa Bay Lightning it was too late.

Those seven minutes are a microcosm of what seems to be off-the-rails through the early part of the season.

Sloppy defensive work on the Lightning’s first goal. Poor penalty killing on their second followed by a bad line change and questionable goaltending on the third.

Three goals in a span of 1:28 spread over the first and second period. As a result the Canadiens suffer a 3-1 loss to a Tampa team that looked beatable.

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GAME #5 – ADJUSTMENTS PAY OFF – Canadiens-6 St. Louis-3 (Oct. 12, 2019)

After Thursday night’s fiasco against Detroit the Canadiens had gone four-deep into the season without a win in regulation time. The peanut gallery was starting to get restless.

I’m sure the coaches were tempted to shake up the roster. Instead Claude Julien opted for two small adjustments. On defence, he elevated brought Brett Kulak out of the press box and re-united him with Jeff Petry. Ben Chiarot moved down to the third pairing. He also moved Jordan Weal to the Max Domi line and dropped 20 year old rookie Nick Suzuki to the fourth line. Minimalist adjustments that turned the Thursday home ice fiasco into a dominant 6-3 win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues. In hockey little things do mean a lot.

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