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Playing their third game in four nights after some emotional divisional battles, the Montreal Canadiens clearly didn’t have the same level of engagement versus the New Jersey Devils, with one of their more listless efforts under Martin St. Louis. Even then, they couldn’t just let their opponent walk away with the victory, and once again worked to tie a game late. Despite some good chances in overtime, they eventually fell in a shootout to take another one-goal loss.
Rem Pitlick was the one to get the game on even terms with 42 seconds to play, and also netted a goal on his shootout attempt. There could have been no better reward for St. Louis’s trust in a player who is proving his value at the NHL level, and the one who led all forwards in ice time on Sunday, playing a few seconds more than the usual leader, Nick Suzuki.
There was also some faith shown in Justin Barron during his first game with the team, playing just under 18 minutes. There may have been a missed opportunity to get him on the ice in a five-on-three the Habs had in regulation when they opted to go with five forwards instead, but the coach did deploy him for the first shift in overtime.
It was a quality performance that will likely earn Barron a second game in a row, this one versus a much tougher team. At least he can count on his teammates being much more engaged in the action when they take on the division-leading Florida Panthers five days after their last meeting.
Tale of the Tape
|45.4% (28th)||Scoring-chances-for %||56.7% (2nd)|
|2.53 (31st)||Goals per game||4.02 (1st)|
|3.71 (31st)||Goals against per game||2.88 (13th)|
|13.9% (30th)||PP%||23.4% (10th)|
|74.4% (29th)||PK%||79.8% (16th)|
The Habs displayed their new fighting spirit in that game on Thursday at the Bell Centre when they launched a late attack after falling behind the Panthers 4-2. Paul Byron got one of the goals they needed with under four minutes to go, but they couldn’t get set up properly in the final minutes to really push for the equalizer.
Jake Allen was named a star in the game for making 38 saves on 42 shots, part of a very busy week for him in the Canadiens’ crease. Having received two days of rest, he’ll probably be going back in to face the league’s best offensive team once more.
Since playing the Habs, the Panthers went on to beat the Ottawa Senators in a shootout, rallying from a three-goal deficit to pull off the comeback. The next night they were the ones to blow a lead, seeing a 2-1 edge over the Toronto Maple Leafs become a 5-2 loss. They outshot Toronto 36-25 in the game, but couldn’t keep the Leafs from capitalizing on chances from right in front of the net.
It was Florida’s worst loss since February 21, so you can expect that they’re looking to rebound in their first home game following a seven-match road trip. They have only lost six of 32 games at FLA Live Arena this year, so Montreal is probably in for another difficult game. However, that hasn’t been much of a deterrent for them versus superior clubs the last few weeks.