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Canadiens @ Ducks Top Six Minutes: The return of Twohook

Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

First period

  • The new first line nearly comes through right away as Alex Newhook jabs at a puck in John Gibson’s pads, but the goaltender is able to keep it out.
  • On his first shift, Jayden Struble has a shot attempt and then jumps deep in the zone looking to keep the offence going. That’s a great start for him.
  • Ilya Lyubushkin tries to defend Juraj Slafkovský after losing his helmet. Since this is the era of Mason McTavish and not Craig MacTavish, that’s not allowed.
  • A Cole Caufield one-timer on the power play which, as was pointed out in a recent links article, has been pretty rare of late.
  • Things get a bit heated after the whistle, so it’s fair to say there’s a bit more intensity in this one already.
  • The second power-plat unit is also playing with some zip in its play.
  • Just after the penalty expires, the Canadiens find a goal, created by some good patience and a crisp pass from Tanner Pearson to Newhook, who has some space to get off his shot.
  • Jesse Ylönen and Kaiden Guhle don’t need a power play to create a prime chance either. Ylönen waits just long enough for Guhle to race past him man and get to the side of the crease before picking out his stick for a tap-in.
  • Three points in the last three games and currently a +4 in that time for Ylönen a bit of consistent playing time and he’s looking dangerous.
  • That’s a fun start. But they’re also playing a team that’s made its name on late comebacks this season.
  • Caufield sprints away looking for a third goal, but Gibson just gets a shoulder on it to deflect it away.
  • Another power play for Montreal. Hopefully they can earn some momentum from this one as well.
  • Not quite as sharp as the first one, but it still had a few looks to make it tough on the Ducks defenders, and that can be good, too.
  • Struble very nearly gets his first NHL point, but Newhook can’t convert a Josh Anderson pass at the side of the net.
  • I would say that having defencemen jump up to be involved in the initial rush is a tactic the Canadiens have discusses, as Mike Matheson is the latest in this game to do so.
  • It should be 2-1, but Samuel Montembeault’s lateral mobility said otherwise. Great save late in the first.
  • Pearson gets his stick in the passing lane turns a transition up ice for the Ducks into an offensive-zone faceoff for the Habs. He had a good period.

Second period

  • Slafkovský tries to swipe the puck away from a Ducks player, who latches onto his arm when he does so. Slafkovský is off to the box.
  • But only for four seconds. Leo Carlsson connects with McTavish for Anaheim’s first goal.
  • And about four seconds later, Mike Matheson moves up to the high slot after accepting a Nick Suzuki pass to make it a two-goal lead again.
  • (It was actually 56 seconds, but that wasn’t as poetic.)
  • This offence is giving up gushing Craig Button instead of angry Craig Button, which is the more pleasant version.
  • He’s particular fond of Suzuki’s play. “What is there not to love about Nick Suzuki?”
  • It’s not a physical game, but a second scrum of the night materializes out of nowhere, with Michael Pezzetta at its centre.
  • Another goal for McTavish after Johnny Kovacevic spins to the ice after getting passed by Frank Vatrano and the Canadiens don’t have enough players to defend.
  • There’s still some work to do on defence, obviously.
  • Max Jones still plays for Anaheim, apparently, because he’s now in the box for elbowing.
  • Montreal spends the first minute just trying to get the get the puck away from the four Ducks defenders. It’s a real challenge sometimes.
  • The top unit played the full two minutes, with only one real attempt at a scoring chance.
  • Christian Dvorak gives the puck up inside his own blue line. Considerate of him to make so many rookie mistakes this season to make the young guys feel more comfortable.
  • As good as Montreal’s defence has looked, the Ducks have the same number of shots and could have the same number of goals. The defensive game still needs to be addressed.
  • Jake Evans has had enough of getting tossed out of the faceoff circle. A rare display of exasperation from him.
  • Michael Pezzetta fights off a Ducks defenceman to beat out an icing call, and gets plastered from behind into the boards, crumpling to the ice. He gets up immediately and tries to land a response hit, but goes down again.
  • One way to stop the offensive cycle is just to follow the man with the puck and pin him to the glass, as Guhle just did. Montreal does miss Arber Xhekaj in that regard.
  • I don’t have faith that this defence can hang on for 20 minutes, so the Canadiens are going to have to keep the pressure on in the third.

Third period

  • Anaheim comes out the hungrier team, as you would expect.
  • Meanwhile the San Jose Sharks just game up a sixth goal to the Seattle Kraken. There’s no excuse for the Canadiens not to win that game on Friday.(an afternoon game, that one).
  • Suzuki hits the post to prevent the Canadiens from getting a more comfortable lead.
  • The tying goal comes off the stick of Alex Killorn … but ends up in the lightning-quick glove of Montembeault.
  • Dvorak takes a high stick from Urho Vaakanainen, but we’ll just play on. Maybe the ref though he jabbed himself in the face.
  • The sixth Anaheim Duck on the ice touches the puck, but we’ll just play on. They are down by a goal after all, they need some help.
  • There’s the tying goal from Vatrano on the 30th shot of the game for Anaheim. He now has 13 on the season as he continues his rocket Richard bid.
  • Josh Anderson has a chance to tie the game. The puck does not go in the net.
  • No exasperation for Evans there. He flings a pass across in front of two defenders to set up Newhook’s go-ahead goal.
  • Surely the defence can hold together for 2:30….
  • McTavish makes a defensive play to prevent an empty-netter. We’ll put that at number two on his list of career defensive plays.
  • Time expires as the puck heads for the middle of the empty net, so this one finishes 4-3.
  • A win is a win. Now another one has to come in two days’ time.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) He does that, too!

2) Very reliable, those

1) Two goals > two picks

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