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Canadiens @ Hurricanes Top Six Minutes: Staggering into the new year

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After scoring nine goals versus division rivals, the Canadiens net just one in Carolina.

Montreal Canadiens v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

Before we all wish eash other Happy New Year, how about getting something to celebrate at the end of this one?

First period

  • Good early pressure on a few shifts from Montreal, but it all comes to an end as Artturi Lehkonen goes to the box for tripping.
  • Well that’s not the start to the game you want to see.
  • Or is it? The Canadiens were trailing in all three games they won in the road trip before Christmas. Maybe this is the secret to success.
  • It’s reviewed for a high stick, but those are basically like pass interference challenges in the NFL; the call stands.
  • Max Domi seems to think so. The hottest Hab extends his goal-scoring streak to six games by calmly stealing the puck and firing it in.
  • Good follow-up shift by the Danault line. A few wraparounds just fail to connect.
  • The defence is holding together, but those seams look close to bursting once again.
  • A two-on-one rush with Poehling and Kotkaniemi. The pass gets deflected, but it was a fun thing to see.
  • Lindgren throws up the right hand to snag the puck. Probably a bit odd for Hurricanes players expecting a shot off the blocker and the continuation of play.
  • Carolina is now spending shift after shift in Montreal’s end. Lindgren is performing a gymnastics floor routine to halt play whenever the puck gets close.
  • Suzuki’s shot just glances off Petr Mrazek’s stick shaft after a sequence of eight shots for Carolina.
  • Perhaps a bit too antsy to capitalize on the pressure, a sixth Hurricanes player jumps on the ice. That gives Montreal a chance to play in the opposite end, and a breather for Lindgren to plan his next tumbling pattern.
  • Unfortunately, he was still busier than Mrazek, and that means no go-ahead goal on the power play.

Second period

  • Great job joining the rush by Victor Mete, but gets denied by the toe of Mrazek. If that can become a regular thing, more offence will be in store for his 2020.
  • Brett Kulak makes a good play on offence, then sees the puck get behind him, looks over, and sees he no longer has a defence partner on the ice. It’s a breakaway for Nino Niederreiter, but the shot goes off the post.
  • Great passing by the Hurricanes, and they have the lead on a tic-tac-toe goal.
  • Brett Kulak and Jeff Petry to take the stick of the player at the right side of the net isn’t the best way to prevent that pass across the top of the crease.
  • Martin Necas takes a puck in the face, and you know he’s hurt because he sprints off the ice. Hopefully nothing too serious for him.
  • There’s Vejdemo’s speed. He races past about seven players and almost beats the goaltender to puck that was 10 feet in front of him.
  • An attempted diving poke at the puck just fails to connect for Vejdemo on the same shift. That would have been a great first NHL goal.
  • Domi lifts one off the post after a turnover. Nearly a tie game.
  • It wasn’t pretty in their first game versus Tampa Bay, but the Domi line seems to be finding its way now.
  • Shea Weber makes a hit so hard you can hear the crowd cringe.
  • It was also so hard Martinook felt he needed to do something about it, and wound up with a retaliatory slashing penalty moments later.
  • Jesperi Kotkaniemi gives the Weber PP unit a different dynamic. He’s not just looking to get the puck to the point. Now if only Drouin would hurry up and heal....
  • Brendan Gallagher gets knocked down at the blue line and his head goes right into the path of a steaming Ben Chiarot. He stayed down, but only for a minute, and then skated off on his own. I’m sure he’ll be undergoing the concussion protocol.
  • Point-blank save on Phillip Danault with 28 seconds left.
  • It’s Suzuki who moves up to replace Brendan Gallagher on the top line. Julien is very happy with his rookie — as he should be.

3rd period

  • No Gallagher to start the third, so that’s going to make the comeback tougher.
  • Hurricanes go to the power play early in the third.
  • Sebastian Aho has an empty net to shoot at ... that is until the acrobatics of Charlie Lindgren get him over to catch the puck just as it was about to cross the goal line.
  • That was a truly incredible save, and could turn out to be critical to the game’s result. I guess we’ll see.
  • Another player surprised by a right-handed catcher.
  • A breakdown at the blue line results in a three-on-one developing for Carolina. Tomas Tatar tries to use his stick to increase Mete’s acceleration, but the defenceman doesn’t need two-stage boost to get up to speed. Crisis averted.
  • Canadiens respond with some play around the Carolina net, but nothing is dangerous enough to get past Mrazek in the opening six minutes.
  • This is the type of game that calls for a Lehkonen goal.
  • But a Ryan Poehling goal will do just as well. Good job just bashing the puck on goal until the puck goes in.
  • It’s the kind of thing that could be challenged for goaltender interference, and Rod Brind’Amour does just that.
  • Even though he was pushed, we saw that that doesn’t seem to matter when it comes to overturning Habs goals. So we’ll wait for the decision.
  • Of course, it’s waved off. You may as well just bowl right over top of the goalie if you get pushed from behind, is the message being sent with these review decisions.
  • Now we get some pushing and shoving with five minutes to go. Will that provide enough energy to mount the comeback?
  • The next shift sees a penalty to Ryan Dzingel, as he ... tries to pole vault off Jeff Petry’s face, maybe? Not much debate on that one (even though Dzingel did protest).
  • Just need to get the puck first.
  • Maybe the next wave.
  • Just gotta tag up for offside, then they can go.
  • One more chance for a zone entry.
  • And it’s gone.
  • The empty-netter seals it. It’s a third consecutive loss on a dreadful three-game trip.
  • After going int othe Christmas break 3-1 on their seven-game stretch, they’ll finish the most critical road swing of their season 3-4. You just can’t have that if you want to make the playoffs.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) As Artturi Lehkonen makes a toast to no one in particular

2) We always appreciate the effort, ladies

1) Don’t drink too heavily tonight.