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Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs Top Six Minutes: Slafkovský starts to settle in

It was another loss, but there were some positive things to take away.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

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.


  • It’s game five of the pre-season (or game one for those of us who were knocked off the grid by Fiona), and rosters are getting trimmed down.
  • Let’s see how Sean Monahan looks in his first game as a member of the home team at the Bell Centre.

First period

  • Early power play as Justin Barron gets his feet tangled up defending a rush, forcing Jonathan Drouin to make and emergency play
  • The much-maligned William Nylander converts on the power play. The Leafs are going to miss him when they eventually decide to trade him.
  • Nice little give-and-go between Evgenii Dadonov and Brendan Gallagher that almost results in a tying goal.
  • Mike Matheson closes down a breakaway chance before his man even got to centre ice. Apparently he’s been doing this often
  • The other writers in the Slack channel are saying this is “easily the best” Juraj Slafkovský has looked in the pre-season, which sounds both good and bad, but at least the trajectory is upward.
  • And now he gets a chance at the side of the net, but is slightly off-balance on the release after a deflection and misses the net
  • 2-0 Leafs on a quick counter-attack.
  • They cheat trying to score a third and the ref yells at them for having six players on the ice. Auston Matthews really wanted that pre-season marker.
  • A bit too much of the same hot-potato style on the power play that makes it seem like the Habs only have four players as well.
  • More good chemistry between Dadonov and Gallagher.
  • Montreal is getting some chances now by just driving the middle of the ice. Shot deficit has gone from six to two.
  • And there’s zero chemistry between Dadonov and Christian Dvorak, apparently, because Dadonov just whipped a breakaway pass out of the latter’s reach.

Second period

  • Arber Xhekaj shows off his meanness to one of the players who finished ahead of Cole Caufield in Calder voting. Maybe he has a mission like Inigo Montoya to eliminate them all.
  • Future former Leaf Nylander scores again.
  • Slafkovský gets robbed of a goal by Matt Murray after slinging a one-timer from between his feet. Good shot. Nice pass from ... Mike Hoffman?
  • A shift later, they almost convert in switched positions. Perfect cross-ice pass from Slafkovský.
  • More nice puck movement, this time from Jonathan Drouin, to Monahan, to the Spiderhorse.
  • Xhekaj nearly scores off a deflection.
  • Good close out from Otto Leskinen stops an offensive play and switches possession to Montreal.
  • I hope the Canadiens can maintain some of the creativity they’re showing during this second period throughout the season.
  • Xhekaj jumps up into the rush and just about solves Murray. Effective game from him.

Third period

  • Nice rush for Monahan cutting across the zone, protecting the puck, and nearly breaking the goose egg.
  • Gallagher-Dadonov with another good look. This could be a good duo this year (until the deadline at least). I’m sure they’ll adjust their aim in due time.
  • The Spiderhorse gets hauled down and draws a penalty. Marner also goes to the box for diving while the call is delayed.
  • Still struggling to play keepaway while playing with one extra player.
  • Now a five-on-three. Surely they’ll look a bit more settled here. Five-forward formation.
  • Need more shots and fewer passes, even if the puck movement is nice.
  • Slafkovský finally gets rewarded for his play by driving the puck right to the net, and having the rebound fall to Drouin for the goal.
  • Then the Leafs score quickly at the other end.
  • And one more time as Alex Kerfoot has his second in a matter of minutes.
  • Habs lose again, but they get another chance tomorrow.

3 Stars

3) It can’t be this hard to fix

2) I was encouraged by the passing, but they forgot to mix in a few shots

1) Always good advice