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Category: Stanley Cup Playoffs

GAME #32 – PRIMEAU STEPS IN – Canadiens-3 Ottawa-2 (Overtime) Dec. 11, 2019

It is a story in the moment that is worth repeating.

At the 2016 NHL entry draft Canadiens scouting director Trevor Timmins traded away his 2017 seventh round pick to the Winnipeg Jets so he could draft a 6’5” Swedish defenseman named Arvid Henrikson. As a result the Canadiens had no pick in the seventh and final round of the 2018 draft came around, the Canadiens had no draft pick and Timmins still had one name on his list. They traded their 2018 seventh round draft pick in return the 199th pick of 2017 and with it took a goaltender from the USHL junior league named Cayden Primeau.

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GAME #31 – DISCIPLINE ON THE ROAD – Canadiens-4 Pittsburgh-1 (Dec. 10, 2019)

Ask any NHL coach what the secret is to winning on the road, the first thing he will mention is ‘discipline’. There are other factors but without discipline almost every other contribution more often than not becomes incidental.

The Canadiens played an outstanding road game Friday night at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday night in Pittsburgh they outdid themselves.

The underlying statistics tell the story of the 4-1 Canadiens win.

According to the Penguins took 60.4% of the game’s shooting attempts but the Canadiens dominated high danger scoring chances 11-5 including 10-1 through the first two periods as the Canadiens were mounting a 3-1 lead.

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GAME #30 – A CLASSIC ROAD WIN – Canadiens-2 NY Rangers-1 (Dec. 6, 2019)

Funny how it goes sometimes.  The Thursday loss against Colorado was their ninth in ten games.  With that record only the most cockeyed of optimists would even entertain the idea of a Montreal playoff berth in the spring.  Twenty four hours later the Canadiens came up with a near perfect road game in edging the New York Rangers 2-1. 

Here’s where it really gets strange. The victory moved the Canadiens into second place in the Atlantic Division behind only the Boston Bruins.  There are teams around them that carry games in hand but the fact they are even close after all of their November struggles is truly remarkable and hardly credit to the rest of the division which was supposed to be the strongest in the entire league.

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GAME #29 – MENTALLY UNPREPARED – Colorado-3 Canadiens-2 (Dec. 5, 2019)

The winning streak lasted one game.  And now the tally is nine losses the last ten games.   

With no wriggle room the rest of the season, the Canadiens cannot enter games mentally unprepared to compete the way their were at home against the Colorado Avalanche Thursday night.

They were beaten badly in the first period and were only slightly better the first half of the second period.  By then a very good Colorado team had put the Canadiens in a 0-3 hole.  A big third period effort against a tiring team that had played the night before in Toronto closed the gap but a three-goal deficit was too much to overcome.  

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GAME #28 – WHAT A RELIEF! – Canadiens-4 NY Islanders-2 (Dec. 4, 2019)

Hockey coaches have been saying it for years: Take care of the defense and the rest will take care of itself.

Five games into their eight game losing streak the Canadiens were a confused mess, prone to bleeding goals at a record rate; at one point fourteen in a two game span.   It wasn’t just a goaltending and defense problem, it was a team problem.  The Canadiens had become a disorganized mess.   

They finally showed signs of snapping out of it in Philadelphia last week. They were better against Boston Saturday and Tuesday night they put it all together in a 4-2 win over what has been a very good New York Islanders team this season.

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