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David (Savard) vs. Goliath

The Canadiens weren’t on top of their defensive games on Tuesday, but Savard was trying his best to hold them together.

Minnesota Wild v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

When David fought Goliath it was because everyone in Israel, including King Saul (who was a large man himself) refused. Last night David Savard lived up to his name. Okay, I get it, Minnesota isn’t exactly Goliath, but let me torture an analogy for a while.

Firstly, let’s get something out of the way because i know it will be talked about. Savard started his career with the Montreal Canadiens on a very bad foot. So bad, in fact, I think it took me personally a much longer time than it should have to realize that he’s actually a pretty decent player.

He’s never put up very good advanced metrics in his career and last night was no different, ending off with the team’s worst shot-attempt share at 36%. However, no goals were allowed by Montreal while he was on the ice.

The first play that caught my eye happened during the first period versus the Minnesota Wild when Kaiden Guhle turned the puck over and Savard was defending a two-on-one. Savard maintained an excellent gap on the puck-carrier, directed Guhle to pick up the trailer, forced the play behind the net, won a board battle, took possession, and completed a controlled zone exit. Well, technically he didn’t “complete” the zone exit but it was all but assured when he made a short pass before going off at the end of the shift.

If that wasn’t enough, he was integral in making several key blocks during the three-on-five to end the first period.

Finally, he completed a two-line pass to spring Mike Hoffman for the breakaway that led to the forward’s penalty shot (let’s not talk about the penalty shot, please).

Perhaps some of his advanced stats can be forgiven knowing that he took only one offensive-zone faceoff at five-on-five in the entire game. Or the fact that of his 16:22 of ice time, he spent almost 11 minutes facing down Kirill Kaprizov. Interestingly, when he wasn’t saddled with the opponent’s top line, he had a 70% Corsi-for percentage.

Much like another, smaller David who used to play for the Habs, he’s being forced to take on more responsibility than he should. But that shouldn’t take away from a heck of an effort. Just because the stone missed the giant’s head this time, doesn’t mean he needs to be sent back to shepherding duties. Unless that’s a good thing.... I’m not clear on this part of my analogy.