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A seventh straight setback for Jake Allen
Whining about referees is a national sport in Quebec. And when I say Quebec, I mean just about everywhere in the sports world.

It’s sometimes easy to criticize referees for a club’s problems, but yesterday, in the CH’s loss to Nashville at the Bell Centre, it looked like they were trying to steal the show.

And that’s something pretty much everyone who watched the game knows.

It wasn’t necessarily for or against one team, but let’s just say it was a penalty fest. Both teams were taking penalties, and as a result, the game had no rhythm.

But hey. Seeing six penalties called in the first period took the pace out of the game. On a Sunday night against Nashville, it’s not exactly the most exciting scenario…

In all, 10 penalties were called. Some obvious calls were missed, and some penalties were unnecessary. Talk about Brendan Gallagher, who played a sincere one even though he was facing the Predators AND the referees. #Reputation

As a result, the Habs found themselves playing on special units too often.

And you know as well as I do that this season, even though the club has a lot of reps when there are fewer than 10 skaters on the ice in total, it still pulls out quite a few.

The big loser in all this was undoubtedly Jake Allen.

After all, the Canadiens’ netminder, who returned to the net after a three-game absence, may have had a strong game, but he was put in a tough situation.

His Preds counterpart, too, you might say… and it’s true.

Allen gave away a shorthanded goal (what would a Flanelle game be without a man-down goal?) and despite a performance in which he had little to be ashamed of, he lost.

In particular, he made some big saves during the game.

It’s his seventh defeat in a row: he lost both games in December and all five duels in November. He hasn’t won since October, which is pretty crazy.

Would he like to win? Of course he would. Is he tired of losing? You know the answer.

That said, he also knows that many factors are beyond his control, so he can’t worry about everything. He’s seen it all before in his career, and he’s focused on what he needs to do. So pull out all the clichés you want.

Although the CH started the game well, things went from bad to worse… before finishing strongly. It was during the sequence in which the club took its foot off the gas that the Habs shot themselves in the foot.

That Colton Sissons.

But hey. That’s not all I remember about this game, which was Martin St-Louis’ second duel in two nights in two different cities.

What struck me?

1. David Savard’s return was a welcome one. The CH defenseman played over 20 minutes and the pairing he formed with Mike Matheson inevitably took pressure off the other Quebecer on the blue line.

Whoever wants to see traffic in front of the net helps stabilize the club.

Inevitably, this gives everyone a chance to breathe. And when Kaiden Guhle doesn’t have the game of his career, it gives the coaches a safety net.

And that’s important.

2. If Cole Caufield wants to score goals, he’ll have to get pucks on net. Yesterday, he only collected two shots on goal, which isn’t enough for a player of his calibre.

The CH could use him right now.

3. Once again, Juraj Slafkovsky didn’t have a bad game. That said, as Grant McCagg said, he’s going to have to learn to trust his shot a little.

And when he does… wow.

4. The CH had a goal disallowed because Brendan Gallagher was in front of the net. His contact with the goalie was real and the CH didn’t even dare contest the goal.

But at least, a few seconds later, Jake Evans scored. His last goal had been in the opening game.

Overtime

Because the club had a game yesterday, the coach gave his team the day off today. So there will be no training, and we won’t know what the coach’s plan is to replace Tanner Pearson in the long term.

My point is, don’t hold your breath for a recall today.

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