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Canadiens @ Red Wings game recap: Montreal can’t hold on to leads as losing streak reaches seven

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Two third period leads were not enough.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings took their first lead of the game with less than four minutes remaining in the third period when Adam Erne caused a turnover and found Filip Zadina in the slot who made no mistake to beat Canadiens goaltender Charlie Lindgren.

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It would give the Red Wings a 4-3 lead they would not relinquish as they would defeat the Montreal Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena on Tuesday night.

Montreal pulled Lindgren for the extra attacker in the final minute, and generate some offensive zone time but they couldn’t generate a tying goal. It was their seventh loss in a row.

The Canadiens would have a good start early in the game. The best chance for the Canadiens in the opening minutes came off the stick of Ilya Kovalchuk. Kovalchuk took a pass from Phillip Danault and tried to feed Tomas Tatar in front, but they couldn’t connect in front of Jonathan Bernier.

Lindgren, getting his second start for the Canadiens, was solid in his own right in the opening minutes making a couple of big saves. In all, he made 26 saves.

After Nick Cousins took Montreal’s second penalty of the period, Artturi Lehkonen intercepted a pass and earned himself a breakaway. He made no mistake and scored his 10th of the season five-hole on Bernier.

In the second period, a five-on-three led to nice passing for the Canadiens and an easy tap in for Nick Suzuki. Kovalchuk earned his second assist in as many games and first of two on the night for Montreal.

As Cousins was coming out of the penalty box for his second penalty of the game (for a faceoff violation), Frans Nielsen put a loose puck past Lindgren who got a piece of it but saw it go in to cut the Canadiens lead to 2-1.

Tomas Tatar had another chance in front to restore the Canadiens two-goal lead, but he couldn’t convert a chance from right in front of Bernier with just under two minutes remaining in the second period.

The Canadiens one-goal lead entering the third period did not last long. Only 51 seconds into the final period, Robbi Fabbri whipped a shot past Lindgren after a defensive zone giveaway to tie the game at 2-2.

Montreal had a chance to re-take the lead when Justin Abdelkader took a goaltender interference penalty for running into Lindgren, but they couldn’t capitalize on their fourth power play of the game.

Victor Mete gave the Canadiens a 3-2 lead. After receiving a great pass from Kovalchuk, Mete tried centring the puck but it went off of Red Wings defenceman Filip Hronek and snuck into the net past Bernier.

Nielsen tied the game up with his second goal of the game when he got behind a miscommunication in neutral zone coverage and converted a breakaway deke on Lindgren. He had one goal on the season entering Tuesday’s game.

For the Canadiens, it is back home on Thursday night as they host the Edmonton Oilers at the Bell Centre as they look to snap their seven game slide.

Thoughts and notes

  • Lukas Vejdemo and Brett Kulak entered the lineup for Jordan Weal and Cale Fleury.
  • A bright spot through the losses has been Kovalchuk. He doesn’t look out of place. He’s making plays and generating offence. There are still hiccups in coverage, but that’s to be expected when someone has limited practice time. That doesn’t worry me as much.
  • Charlie Lindgren was good but the issue with this team is not the goaltending, not with Lindgren and not with Carey Price. The issue is that the goaltenders are often left to fend for themselves and it’s not a recipe for success.
  • Anyone else worried about what Connor McDavid will do on Thursday?