The Montreal Canadiens escaped a dimly lit high school gymnasium with a win on Monday night, barely edging out the Arizona Coyotes in overtime with a clutch goal from Mike Hoffman. It was an altogether poor team effort, and leaving with two points should not be cause for any self adulation.
Unless of course we’re talking about Samuel Montembeault, who should be basking in the praise of anyone who watched that game.
The game was tied at two apiece heading into the third period, and it was nothing short of a Christmas miracle that this could be said. They did play much better in the third period and in overtime, but this was cold comfort to fans who sat through a late game where the Coyotes dominated the first 40 minutes.
And this, against the 29th best team in the NHL. Montembeault stole that game, which isn’t something he should have to do against the 29th best team in the league. At worst, the Habs should be competitive with such teams, and not require a special performance from their goaltender.
As much as he deserves heaps of praise for what he pulled off in that game, it is becoming concerning to see it so often. It might be better for this team to learn a harsh lesson in a game like that, rather than have their goaltender dig them out of a crater that they skated themselves into. It would certainly be better for their own lottery odds if being dominated by a team below them didn’t end in an undeserved win.
Alas, we know that tanking guarantees nothing, and that Montembeault has been a one-man army at times this season. As long as the team doesn’t strategize around him doing that, they should be able to learn a lesson from how the Coyotes manhandled them last night.
Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available on your podcast platform of choice. Next up is a slightly less late game in an actual NHL arena, as the Habs will face the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.