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Canadiens @ Kings Top Six Minutes: Holding their own

The Habs were in it until the final horn versus one of the NHL’s best.

Montreal Canadiens v Los Angeles Kings Photo by Harry How/Getty Images


  • Joel Edmundson is playing. Will he be on the ice for more than 10 minutes? We will see.
  • It’s an 11-7 alignment, with Chris Tierney sitting this one out.

First period

  • It’s an early power play for Montreal, thanks to Jesse Ylönen’s face.
  • A set play that calls for something other than a one-time shot from Mike Hoffman. Are you seeing his versatility, league GMs?
  • Gurianov makes a play to the side of the net, but the whistle is blown because the net comes off, thanks to Jesse Ylönen’s butt.
  • Making a pass to the top of the crease for a shot on the power play seems to be the strategy for tonight.
  • I made three points about a single power play instead of just writing a note two minutes later that it was over, so that’s encouraging.
  • Rafaël Harvey-Pinard goes into the corner against two Kings, wins the puck, and flips it to the front of the crease. Effective play.
  • Justin Barron takes a crunching hit behind the net and skates slowly to the bench. You don’t want to see that.
  • Things are a lot more physical early on than they were in San Jose. I do wish we had the 30-shot pace of that game, however.
  • RHP drives to the corner and sends the newest King, Vladislav Gavrikov, to the box. Another effective play.
  • No fancy plays there. Just two one-timers from Hoffman, the first one a loud ping off the post.
  • Josh Anderson swipes the puck off the stick of a defender trying to send it to the boards, and it ends up in the net. It’s another good power-play presence, with the outcome it was looking for.
  • Jonathan Drouin goes to the box. Just pretend you didn’t see that hold, league GMs.
  • The league’s second-best power play certainly did look second-best on this ice surface.
  • It has given L.A. some momentum, however, and they’re amassing some shots now.
  • Joel Edmundson gets called for a trip but pleads his case, and after discussion the officials rescind it. Such debating skills aren’t going to be found in many players, league GMs.
  • Mike Matheson spins around Phillip Danault, then tries to step across the crease to tuck it in, but his arms aren’t quite long enough. Personally, I’d rather that ability stay on this team.

Second period

  • The final tally from the first period was 5:24 for Edmundson, but that’s probably about to go up because the Canadiens have just announced that Barron won’t be returning to the game.
  • Montreal came out of the dressing inspired, getting three quick shots to even up the counter.
  • Jake Allen makes some big saves as the Kings take their turn with momentum.
  • Anderson stick-handles around a defenceman on a rush to get a good shot on goal, but it sounded like it went off Pheonix Copley’s mask.
  • At the opposite end, Allen can repel the Kings no more, as Alex Iafallo ties the game at one goal apiece.
  • Arthur Kaliyev has an open cage on the power play, but he fans on the shot to send it wide. It should be 2-1 for the home side, but the Canadiens survive the advantage.
  • A sliding shot block from Edmundson and he quickly clears the puck away with one hand. The scouts are scribbling that one down.
  • Jake Allen thrusts his pad across the crease on a two-on-one to deny a goal. It turns out he needn’t have bothered because the puck went off the post, but he had it all the way.
  • Montreal is really just surviving in the last 10 minutes; L.A. has a 20-12 shot edge now.
  • We don’t need Craig Button to tell us Anderson is having another strong game tonight, making one of the few offensive forays in the middle period. He’s making it a habit.
  • Edmundson does go to the box this time. He can’t argue his way out of a high-sticking call.
  • Montreal gets out of the period tied, but has nearly two minutes to kill in the third.

Third period

  • Edmundson is now up over 13 minutes, playing eight in the second period, so he will finish well over that 10-minute mark.
  • The Kings are really trying to set up that one-timer for Kaliyev. It has worked 8 times this season, so that makes sense.
  • Adrian Kempe knocks down a payer trying to make it a three-on-two. You need to take a page from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playbook and do that in the offensive zone where refs don’t call it, Adrian.
  • Anderson nearly tapped in a shot at the top of the crease again, but the puck just went off his stick.
  • It has been a fairly quiet night for Gurianov, despite Nick Suzuki trying to set him up on a couple of occasions.
  • Another Hoffman one-timer, but he doesn’t get all of the shot, and he’s upset about it.
  • Still a good-looking power play for Montreal. They need to find a way to maintain this when Cole Caufield is back in the mix next season.
  • A cut pass by Kaiden Guhle and then he leads the counter-attack.
  • The Kings take the lead, and Jesse Ylönen will take the blame for that one. He was carying the puck around the net and reversed his course right to a Kings player. That started the scoring play, capped by Gabriel Vilardi.
  • Suddenly it’s 3-1 as Anze Kopitar nets his 25th of the season. But it should have been that score an hour ago, so you can’t complain too loudly.
  • Well that was anything but quiet from Gurianov. A thunderous slapshot from the top of the circle beats Copley to make it a one-goal game.
  • Anderson obliterates Kopitar just trying to stay onside. A collision of two large bodies. Quinton Byfield comes to the defence of his captain, but Kopitar tells him not to bother.
  • The odds of the Habs coming all the way back take a hit as Drouin heads to the box for hooking.
  • The Kings employ the same drop-pass entries Montreal uses, though with a bit less time between the drop and the reception.
  • Gurianov nearly sets up Suzuki this time, but Matt Roy makes a game-saving play to clear it away.
  • A fun flurry to finish the game versus one of the top teams, and the result is still good for the tank.
  • Now on to the trade deadline. And then another late game after that....

EOTP 3 Stars

3) Solid results all around

2) Let’s see who’s buying tomorrow

1) The man just likes the smell of the ice