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Canadiens @ Coyotes Top Six Minutes: Final 40 flatline

Nov 2, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes defenseman Matt Dumba (24) digs for the puck as Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (34), defenseman Mike Matheson (8) and center Sean Monahan (91) defend in the second period at Mullett Arena. | Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

First period

  • We’re getting some Junior hockey broadcast vibes with the camera angle being so low at Mullett Arena.
  • The Coyotes are shadowing Juraj Slafkovský to start this game. They seem determined to ensure Logan Cooley has a better night.
  • That said, if you’ve planned your game around that line, it could be a long night for the home team.
  • Jesse Ylönen sees some space and takes it to the net for a backhand chance. More of that selfish play would be good for him.
  • Montreal goes on the power play. Each line has also had one good shift, now they can cap it off with a goal.
  • Another lane opens up and Nick Suzuki skates right to the net. If one of these paths could just end with the shooter on his forehand.
  • Slafkovsky’s had no shadow on the power play, and nearly found an opening with a shot.
  • The Arber Xhekaj-Justin Barron pairing has some issues playing the puck out from behind their net, and Barron ends up having to scoop the puck out of the crease with his hand at the end of a long shift. That’s a penalty shot.
  • Nick Schmaltz scores, and the good start is moot.
  • The questionable Arizona defence allows Sean Monahan to get into the slot for a shot. He scores his sixth goal of the season, and first at five-on-five. He might be worth two first-rounders at the deadline now.
  • Montreal’s defence looks much more structured than Arizona’s. A credit to the improvements made over the past week, but also a comment on how loose the Coyotes look.
  • Another power play for Montreal, drawn by Tanner Pearson.
  • Coyotes are just spread all over the ice playing keepaway.
  • Another lane to the net materializes for Nick Suzuki, and he has time to make a few dekes before solving Connor Ingram. But it’s offside, so it was just unofficially great.
  • If this first period is any indication, there will be plenty of chances to get that one back.
  • Rafaël Harvey-Pinard limps to the bench. Just when the top line finally seemed to be enjoying some consistency.
  • Matheson may be hurt, but the full-speed glide is still intact.
  • One poor shift resulted in the Arizona goal, and the Canadiens put the puck in the net twice. The game is tied after one, but the Canadiens should be happy with how they’re playing.

Second period

  • RHP is back for the second. That brings the usual mix of relief and dread that he’s playing through something he shouldn’t.
  • And on his first shift he gets hit and has to limp back to the bench, so that’s confirmation of the dread. Just letting a player get a little more injured before he starts his recovery.
  • A missed offside call by the linesman leads to a shift of 2:44 for Kaiden Guhle. He managed to stay upright long enough to get in the long change at the end.
  • As the Canadiens are forced to do some line-juggling, the Coyotes are working their way into this game.
  • Martin St-Louis will be be enthused about the play in this period.
  • It is smart of the Coyotes to play the game in the offensive zone so their defence can’t be exposed.
  • A pending power play for Montreal may help them turn this momentum around. Or maybe they’ll fail to gain the zone and give up a short-handed goal. We’ll see.
  • Another one of those power plays when the Canadiens have to work hard just to gain control of the puck. They just don’t get any advantage from the extra man sometimes.
  • Brendan Gallagher collects a rebound at the side of the net, but hits Ingram with the shot.
  • Arizona looks like a different team in this period. Just working harder for the puck.
  • The Coyotes have taken the lead in shots.
  • Joel Armia runs some very obvious interference to help a breakout, and instead the puck will stay in the zone while he has to sit alone in the penalty box.
  • Arizona gets the reward for their good period that the Canadiens didn’t in the first: a late goal to take a lead into the intermission.
  • Well, at least this is a situation the Canadiens are familiar with.

Third period

  • Alex Newhook’s line has been dismantled. It needed to happen at some point. He’s now playing with Suzuki and Caufield.
  • Suddenly a centre spot has opened in the lineup with Christian Dvorak’s return imminent.
  • Matheson gets blindsided by Clayton Keller. The officials discuss, and assess a five-minute major to review.
  • The review is quick, and they determine it’s a minor penalty. To Keller’s credit, he did pull up a bit when he realized Matheson wasn’t going to see him, so that’s fair.
  • But still, make him pay for that with a goal.
  • And they do! A well-placed shot from close range by Brendan Gallagher.
  • That’s 400 points for him, nearly all of them hard-earned.
  • He nearly registered #401 on his next shift from the same spot, but can’t double down.
  • Xhekaj goes to the box for a cross-check, and that burst of momentum is gone.
  • Momentum swings back to the Coyotes as they score their own power-play goal. Pearson realized he couldn’t get back into position, switched sides to try to get to the stick instead, but Schmaltz fended it off for his second.
  • Slafkovský takes a shift with Jake Evans and makes a notable play of the evening to set him up for a break. One too many passes from Evans results in nothing, however.
  • Caufield gets taken down to draw another penalty. It would be good to keep the parade of special-teams goals going here.
  • Arizona has made two more infractions in the opening 30 seconds, but they go uncalled.
  • No goal on the power play. The Canadiens will have to get one … I was going to say the hard way, but we’ve all seen the struggles on the man advantage.
  • Now Barron goes to the box for holding because he didn’t close off the wall well enough and his man got by.
  • Another defenceman to the box. Matheson for a trip this time.
  • Allen gets beaten by the puck, but Barron plays it — legally — out of the crease.
  • Four minutes left to find a tying goal. Step one: stay out of the box.
  • A Matheson shot goes off the crossbar. That close.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) That would be a good use of his experience

2) That always makes for a fun atmosphere (minus the drunken fights)

1) And about that many pints of blood lost in his career