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Canadiens vs Blackhawks Top Six Minutes: Early goals sink the Habs

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A lackluster first period costs the Canadiens, as the Blackhawks walk away with two points.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

For our new readers and members, the Top Six Minutes is a continuation of the discussion in the game thread. We try to keep it light and entertaining. Full recaps are up the morning after every game.

Pregame:

  • Remember when the Canadiens could actually win hockey games? Yeah, me too. Those were some good times. It all feels like a distant memory now.
  • By the way, did you know that Jonathan Toews is the leadershipiest leader to ever lead in the NHL? #JustSportsnetFacts
  • In case you were wondering, I am filling the Carey Price shaped void in my life by binge eating apples and peanut butter.

First Period:

  • Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is trying to reach a coaching milestone today. If the Habs lose today, they'll be making history in the process. This fact give me little solace. On the bright side, at least Jeff Petry is back in the lineup!
  • Nathan Beaulieu had a rough first period. Between an ill-timed turnover, an ill-timed penalty and an ill-timed screening of his own goaltender, he has practically superglued himself to the bench for at least the rest of the period.
  • Of course the leadershipiest leader to ever lead would score, thus further establishing himself as the leadershipiest leader to ever lead. Because there is no way that goal wouldn't have gone in without the leader using his leadershipiness to will that puck in, obviously.
  • That goal was brought to you by the Calgary Flames organization. But all the good feelings from that goal were quickly dashed, because a guy with 'butt' in his name scored for the Hawks. Yes, it's been that type of game. 2-1 Hawks heading into the second.

Second Period:

  • After having sleepwalked through the majority of the first period, the Canadiens awoke with the fury of a thousand suns to start the second. Nathan Beaulieu was also seen back on the ice, having returned from his exile to hockey purgatory.
  • But unfortunately for the Habs, Corey Crawford is standing on his face. Damnit Crawford, stop stopping everything (the irony of telling a goaltender to stop making saves is not lost on me). Did Ben Bishop loan Crawford his horseshoe?
  • Puny Hawk-man, meet freight train of a Hab-man! Alexei Emelin's perfectly timed hip check sends Andrew Desjardins sky borne and puts life back into a tense Bell Centre crowd.
  • Can you imagine an alternate universe where Artemi Panarin had actually chose to play for the Canadiens? Actually, scratch that. He'd probably have been traded to the Anaheim Ducks for Devante Smith-Pelly.
  • At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Canadiens are doing everything right but have nothing to show for it yet again because of yet another ridiculously hot goalie. The score is still 2-1 Hawks, heading in to the third.

Third Period:

  • The Canadiens get three golden opportunities to tie up this game, but not one of Desharnais, Andrighetto or Flynn were able to put one past Crawford. At this point, I'm going to assume that Crawford could stand 10 feet out of his net and still make a save.
  • The Hawks also come to the sudden realization that sitting on a 2-1 lead is like playing hot potato with a live grenade. They amp up their efforts a notch and pepper Montreal's net with shots. Fortunately, Condon holds down the fort.
  • How great does Alexei Emelin look this game? Emelin's received a lot of justified criticism for his play this season, but he's saved his best performance for one of the league's best teams. Now this is the Alexei Emelin I'd like to see every game.
  • The Canadiens draw a power play off of Niklas Hjalmarsson's careless play but make little use of it (well, other than Alex Galchenyuk who accidentally broke Marian Hossa in the process).
  • The leadershipiest leader to ever lead gets into a tussle with Brendan Gallagher. And by tussle, I mean the leadershipiest leader to ever lead decided to hit Gallagher in the face. Because that's how leaders lead or something.
  • The Habs pull Condon in one last attempt to push the game to overtime, but Crawford's persistence and the Hawks' resistance seal Montreal's fate. Somebody made history today, but it wasn't the Habs.
How much longer can this slump continue? At some point, a change has to be made. The Canadiens are in serious danger of losing their playoff spot and their trip won't get any easier. Marc Bergevin, do something!

Three Stars

1. This explains everything.

2. Unfortunately.

3. Of course not.

Highlights