Brendan Gallagher takes advantage of the commercial break to chat with referee Chris Schlenker. The #11 didn’t like the last penalty he took and especially the fact that a collision at his expense went unpunished early in the 2nd period #CH
– Francois Gagnon (@GagnonFrancois) December 11, 2023
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…
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.
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.
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.
Jake Allen doesn’t worry too much about his seven-game losing streak: “I’ve seen it all in this league” https://t.co/otJ8KpVzcv
– TVA Sports (@TVASports) December 11, 2023
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.
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.
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.
#Habs David Savard logged 20:10 TOI in his first game back in almost 7 weeks.
– Priyanta Emrith (@HabsInHighHeels) December 11, 2023
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.
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.
Slafkovsky is showing marked improvement in every part of his game except shooting and finishing. He still hasn’t adapted to the lack of space and time to shoot effectively at this level. Nice to have Marty St. Louis there to tutor him but there’s plenty of work to do.
– Grant McCagg (@grantmccagg) December 11, 2023
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.
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.