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Looking at the positives in a sixth consecutive loss

There wasn’t a lot to cheer about in last night’s game, but a couple of veterans showed up to play.

Minnesota Wild v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Vitor Munhoz/NHLI via Getty Images

Sometimes you just have to remind yourself that hockey is stupid.

You have to shoot a tiny cylinder of galvanized rubber into a net with five guys trying to kill you and one guy trying to stop the actual shot. To say that there’s a little luck involved would be like saying it took “a while” to form the Grand Canyon.

Getting shut out in Carey Price’s first two games back is nothing more than a statistical anomaly. Against the New York Islanders the Montreal Canadiens had over three expected goals for, and last night versus the Minnesota Wild they had two.

Price’s performance was a pleasant surprise to say the least. He outperformed the expected goals against by over a goal and had a .923 save percentage. All of this while he still looks like he’s getting his legs under him.

That being said, the old expression goes, “you have to be good to be lucky,” and the Habs were anything but good. The shots in last night’s game may have been even, but some other numbers paint a picture more akin to what we actually saw on the ice.

Montreal had 16 scoring chances to Minnesota’s 31, 46% of the shot attempts, and 40% of the expected goals. Doesn’t that more encapsulate last night’s game than the shots? Montreal had no problem putting together a few decent pushes. but it almost felt like the Wild knew that it wouldn’t last. They just weathered it and went right back to dominating after the Habs ran out of gas.

There was, perhaps, no more valiant an effort made than that by Brendan Gallagher. Not only did he stand out by being in front of the Wild’s net on every shifts, but he was constantly launching pucks at the net. He had three shots on net and five shot attempts, leading the team with a shot-attempt share of 68%. After one shift where he batted the puck on net once and then missed the rebound when it flew in the air, you could see the frustration all over his face. He wanted to win.

If there’s one positive to draw from last nights game it’s this: Montreal had a goal called back ... and it wasn’t because of Gallagher. I see this as a moral victory.