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Molson Cup of the Month for November: Karl Tremblay ahead of Josh Anderson

Last night, the Montreal Canadiens received a visit from the Vegas Golden Knights. And let’s just say that the theme of the evening, quite rightly, was Karl Tremblay.

In a 6-5 loss (the Quebec and Nevada chickens are going to cash in today), we saw that Karl Tremblay was quite a bit more the theme of the evening than Dominique Ducharme, who was making his return to town as Bruce Cassidy’s assistant.

Let’s just say that the former CH coach wasn’t the flavour of the day yesterday.

Whether before the game, during the game or even afterwards, the singer’s musical contribution was highlighted many, many times at the Bell Centre – and on RDS too, for that matter.

Because yes, the Canadiens decided to name Karl Tremblay as the game’s first star. Other tributes to him were expected, but this one was a real surprise.

There were gathering places all over Quebec last night, but the biggest was undoubtedly at the Bell Centre.

Ultimately, according to the official stats, it was Shea Theodore who earned the game’s real first star. But if we’re joking, Karl Tremblay has a bit of a head start on Josh Anderson in the November Molson Cup race.

Hats off to Michel Bouchard for this one. I thought it was a damn good one.

Because even though we know that Josh Anderson isn’t on union break on the ice (he works hard, anyway), we have to admit that the forward is downright incapable of buying a goal.

Yesterday, however, he was unable to direct a single official shot on goal for the Knights. So he didn’t help himself.

The fact remains that yesterday, Anderson didn’t play like a guy who was going to score. And, like his team, he didn’t play in such a way as to beat the Golden Knights.

And Martin St-Louis knows it.

After the game, he admitted that, while his team would have deserved a better fate on the sidelines of their game against Vegas earlier this month, that wasn’t the case last night, and that the setback was well deserved.

He’s not wrong, of course.

After all, it all starts with indiscipline. And yesterday, the Habs really weren’t able to avoid the penalty box, giving the Golden Knights seven opportunities. The latter were 3-in-7.

The Habs were 0-in-3, but it’s impossible to say that’s all the game was. After all, even at five-on-five, the club was being dominated by Vegas.

Of course, Brendan Gallagher is at the heart of those who should be singled out. His late-game penalty (for the second game in a row) hurt the Habs. Tuesday’s wasn’t his fault, but hey.

The CH was opportunistic at the start of the game, but otherwise? They didn’t play well overall. 42 shots against only 28 for the CH, that doesn’t lie at all, in this case.

But hey. What else can I take away from this game, which didn’t exactly live up to Martin St-Louis’ expectations on the first day of the fathers’ trip?

Because, yes, Father’s Day begins at home.

1. Good thing Cayden Primeau was there. The Habs’ goalie saved the day early on, because without him, let’s just say the Habs wouldn’t have had the luxury of two different two-goal leads.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was incredible, because he still gave up six goals to the Knights, but it’s worth pointing out that, watching the game, it was clear he was good.

2. As I said, one of the positives of the game was that the CH were opportunistic. After practising their shots in training on Wednesday, the results were striking.

The club had few chances to score, but they took advantage of them, let’s say.

3. After 13 shots, the Habs had four goals. Alex Newhook (for whom the goal undoubtedly felt good), Johnathan Kovacevic and Jesse Ylönen twice found the back of the net.

Despite this, Ylönen only played for seven minutes and 22 seconds. He deserved more playing time.

4. Nick Suzuki found a way to pick up two assists and win nearly two out of three face-offs. He came close to 20 minutes of play and his +2 differential is good.

Is it time, though, to bring him back with Cole Caufield? The latter needs help right now. Playing with Christian Dvorak is… less fun than with Suzuki, let’s say.

5. Without Arber Xhekaj, who didn’t finish the game, and with Gustav Lindstrom, who is not to be confused with Nicklas Lidstrom, the other defenders played en masse yesterday.

More than 21 minutes for Kaiden Guhle and Johnathan Kovacevic? No choice. Over 22 minutes for Justin Barron, who started the season in the stands? We’re there now. Over 28 minutes for Mike Matheson? Yes, sir.

Extra time

On this second day of the Father’s Day trip, the players will take to the ice at the CN Complex in Brossard at 11am. Then it’s on to Boston for tomorrow night’s game against the Bruins.

We’ll be watching to see if Jordan Harris and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, who missed yesterday’s game through injury, will be able to skate with the rest of their teammates.

But above all, we’ll be keeping an eye on Arber Xhekaj, who wasn’t wearing a splint yesterday after the game, according to Renaud Lavoie. That doesn’t mean he’s back to full fitness, however, as he was tackled hard and his shoulder looked banged up.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a call-up from the Rocket, who will be playing tonight. After all, without – potentially – Xhekaj and Harris, the Habs will need reinforcements.

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