Beating the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night was a definitive loss for the Montreal Canadiens, at least in terms of the draft lottery race. Tank nation will undoubtedly — and with good reason — be upset at the Habs taking two points when they were outshot and out-chanced rather heavily, by a team that now stands a better chance of drafting higher than them as a result.
But taking a look on the bright side, Denis Gurianov made his debut in the win, and showed some real potential that the Canadiens can work with
Gurianov has wheels. pic.twitter.com/EBQLLCer24— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) March 1, 2023
What stood out more than anything was his speed. He can really skate, and we saw him blow by defenders multiple times on the night. The play highlighted above was reminiscent of Josh Anderson’s signature move, cutting wide with speed and driving into the middle with his shoulder down. A power forward’s move.
What was lacking in his game was some finish. Apparently this had been an issue in his game with the Dallas Stars as well — he can create opportunities for himself, but struggles when it comes to cashing in on those chances. This could be cause for some concern, as getting multiple scoring chances in the game wasn’t worth much for him in terms of actual production.
Great pass by Kaiden Guhle, and Gurianov just misses. pic.twitter.com/fo7owqQ26m— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) March 1, 2023
I wonder if working with Adam Nicholas could unlock some more scoring out of these chances. If he can keep putting himself in the right places, and beating defenders with speed, it could just be a matter of some fine-tuning to turn those chances into actual goals. A bit better timing and execution, and he’d probably have scored at least twice on Tuesday, so I’d call it worth the investment of time to find out if you can develop that with him.
Is he going to be a future 50-goal scorer? No, but acquired in exchange for a player who was expected to be tough to move at all, you have to like him as a project for a rebuilding team.
Bottom Six Minutes!
This is a bit of a shorter episode because it was recorded around 3AM local time for me. Not a great tank night, but hey, at least they didn’t let it go to overtime and keep us all up any later than we needed to be. I even managed a double shift last night, so I’ll embed my conversation with former EOTP head honcho Marc Dumont on Game Over below as well.
Apple and Spotify are also embedded below as always, and please consider subscribing on your preferred platform as I look to grow the new channel.