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Canadiens @ Avalanche Top Six Minutes: A 20-minute effort

Montreal plays very well in the first but can’t maintain it in an overtime loss.

Montreal Canadiens v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Ashley Potts/NHLI via Getty Images
  • The top line features Montreal’s top three forwards once again. Let’s see if they can help keep Montreal perfect on this road trip.

First period

  • The Avalanche hit the post 15 seconds into the game. Let’s hope that’s not the tempo they’re going to play with all night.
  • Things are now getting bit physical. I give the advantage to Montreal in that situation.
  • Jake Evans leads Anthony Richard with a pass, and Richard is too speedy for the Avs to keep up with. He scores on a breakaway for his first NHL goal.
  • A little offence from the fourth line is a welcome addition for Montreal.
  • Now the trio of Juraj Slafkovský, Jonathan Drouin, and Josh Anderson has a prolonged shift of offensive pressure. This is the type of four-line pressure the Canadiens have lacked, especially when playing Kirby Dach on the top line as they are tonight.
  • Not to be outdone, Dach’s line also gets an extended stay in the offensive zone. This is a good start for Montreal.
  • Joel Armia makes a power move to the net and almost scores. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen that kind of effort from him. What has gotten into this team tonight?
  • Let’s hope they don’t realize Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog aren’t playing and drop their level.
  • Caufield almost hits 20. Will he get there before the end of the night? Probably.
  • Anderson has a chance for a breakaway, but it’s at the end of his shift and he’s easily chased down. The Avalanche defence looks vulnerable to these attempts.
  • The Avalanche play the Canadiens onside with a pass back into their own zone. It’s the top line. Kirby Dach hits the inside of the post and it stays out, but the Habs spend a good minute of time in the zone looking dangerous.
  • Very strong period. Forty more minutes of that.

Second period

  • Big glove save by Jake Allen to maintain the 1-0 lead. The Avalanche are looking stronger to begin the second.
  • Out comes Montreal’s top line. Three scoring chances. Dach really enjoys this role I think.
  • The crowd cheers every time the Avalanche start a breakout from their own zone, but the Canadiens always have their two defencemen back. They’re much less aggressive in their pinches.
  • Chris Wideman makes a nice poke-check at the red line and leads a counter-attack. Why was Wideman the player the furthest up ice? Who knows, but it worked.
  • We’re halfway through this game and no penalties have been called. If you read this back after they’ve spent the final 30 minutes on special teams you can blame me for jinxing it.
  • Jonathan Drouin accepts the puck with speed! He’s racing in on goal! His angle is cut off, but he goes in deeper behind the goal line! He sends a pass out to Evgenii Dadonov six feet in front of the net! Dadonov ... sends the puck into the corner.
  • The first penalty comes with 1:44 left as Arber Xhekaj has to take down his man working out of the corner.
  • Colorado’s power play works much lower in the zone than Montreal’s does. They nearly get a goal at the side of net, but it’s a real Dadonovian effort with an open net.
  • Montreal survives that period with shots 15-5 for Colorado. The Habs need the third to be more like the first.

Third period

  • Montreal survives the 16-second spillover of power-play time, so it’s a good start.
  • Nice work by Harris to jump up with the top line and he gets a great look at a goal.
  • Now Richard is about to go to the box for hooking, putting his GWG in jeopardy.
  • Artturi Lehkonen is the one to score the power-play goal. He has five of those this season, which would tie him with Suzuki for the team lead in Montreal.
  • The Canadiens are just waiting for these final 12 minutes to run off the clock. This was a better strategy when Carey Price was in the net.
  • On a delayed penalty, the Avalanche gain control of the puck by tripping Dach. It should be a five-on-three, but it’s just a one-man advantage.
  • Can Drouin get something from a decent game with a power-play point?
  • Montreal puck-movement pace is about half of what the Avalanche’s was. There’s no goal.
  • Montreal is now getting doubled in shots 32-16 after their great opening period. Five shots in the last 32 minutes. Hard to win that way.
  • It’s a surprise shot from nowhere for Suzuki in a period the Canadiens have mustered very little. Followed up by one for Caufield. No goal, but at least it’s an offensive-zone faceoff.
  • A point!

Overtime

  • Montreal starts with its entry to any NHL three-on-three tournament: Suzuki, Caufield, Guhle.
  • Drouin charges to the net on a power move, the puck hits to goalie and sits inches from the goal line.
  • Colorado counters on a two-on-one, and Rantanen ends it.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) You know there has to be a poem

2) A well-deserved moment for one of the top performers in the organization

1) You just can’t win games with one consistent line