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Prolongation: playing Jake Evans and leaving Juraj Slafkovsky on the bench got people talking

Let’s get one thing straight: yesterday, the Habs lost a game (3-2 shootout) they absolutely didn’t deserve to win. It’s bad enough they stole a point in a game they didn’t deserve to have one in…

Those who watched the game will know that the club had a (tiny) revival during the match, but that for the majority of the time, Martin St-Louis’s men were eaten up by John Tortorella’s men.

You know when you get two goals on two shots in the first period, you’ve been lucky.

Luck was clearly a factor in the game. Leading 2-1 after 20 minutes when the shots are 10-2 for the opposition, that’s lucky. Seeing your goalkeeper (who was excellent, but I’ll come back to that) saved six times by his posts is lucky.

To get a point in such a match is lucky.

I really have the impression that Martin St-Louis didn’t want to push his luck in overtime and played conservatively. And what does it mean to play conservative in hockey?

It means giving Evans three chances in overtime, but not making Juraj Slafkovsky play three-on-three.

Yes, I know Slaf isn’t a center. I know that Evans was there because of his ability to win face-offs – and, of course, take possession of the puck.

But does Martin St-Louis know that Claude Julien wasn’t hitting for 1,000 when he sent Phillip Danault out too often to start the Habs’ overtime on time?

It angered everyone in town, remember?

It’s easy to play stage manager, but it seems to me that if we’re talking about center, Sean Monahan has more offensive upside for overtime, doesn’t he? And it also seems to me that Slaf deserves real overtime auditions, regardless of his position.

But hey. The Canadiens’ defeat doesn’t rest solely on the shoulders of Jake Evans, who didn’t play any better or worse than the average of his teammates.

What can I take away from this game?

1. Cayden Primeau was excellent for the Canadiens. His 37 saves on 39 shots, many of them in overtime, are clearly a reason why the Habs left Pennsylvania with a point in their pocket.

Without Primeau’s performance, playing in front of his own team, the Habs would have been washed out. Really, they would have.

Yes, his posts helped. Yes, there were times when the puck should have gone in the net, when there was traffic. But Primeau still took 22 shots in the last 25 minutes before the shootout and came up empty.

We’ll forgive his “speed” on the Flyers’ first goal: he was excellent yesterday. Meanwhile, at the end of the bench, Jake Allen must have been thinking that it won’t be easy to get playing time between now and the end of the season.

2. Flyers goaltender Samuel Ersson blocked 17 shots during the game. These were the last 17 shots he received in the last 45 minutes of the game… plus three saves in the shootout.

His team-mates blocked 16 shots. That’s almost as many as the goalkeeper alone.

Meanwhile, Kaiden Guhle stopped 10 shots on his own. Add to this the blocked shots of Quebecers Mike Matheson and David Savard, and the total for the three Canadian defenders is 20.

That’s more than the goalie on the other side!

3. The Canadiens were facing the 31st best team in the NHL on the power play. It was the perfect time to try and help themselves out a bit and boost the confidence of the power-play unit.

But the Flyers scored their second PP goal. Jamie Drysdale, playing his first game under his new colors, took advantage of the opportunity to collect his first point as a member of the Flyers.

4. Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky didn’t have the greatest of games. Is that why Slaf didn’t get any overtime?

But hats off to Brendan Gallagher, Josh Anderson and Jake Evans, who did well. Is that why Evans got so much overtime?

5. During the Habs game, the Montreal women’s club was also playing… as were the Rocket and Lions. Plus, Owen Beck got six points in Saginaw.

How closely did you follow the Habs at the end of the game?


The Habs had plenty of days to prepare properly for the Flyers, but it didn’t exactly turn out well.

Why didn’t the Flanelle have their legs? Who knows.

The club flew back to Montreal last night, where Samuel Montembeault and the Sharks are already based. The Quebec goaltender didn’t make the trip and is expected to face San Jose tonight at the Bell Centre.

The club has the night off. Will he have the legs to hand the Sharks (and Mike Hoffman) a 13th straight defeat?

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