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Jayden Struble: it’s never a good sign when a player is injured without contact
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Last night, the Canadiens lost their game. The Penguins won at home, 4-1.

The Penguins needed a win to try and make themselves believe they still had a chance of making the playoffs. And they did, against a Canadian team that had lost in advance.

After all, in a second game in two nights, the Flanelle have no success this season. A record of one win in 11 games in such circumstances is[insert a qualifier meaning nil or too little].

But the Habs didn’t just lose a hockey game: they also lost Jayden Struble.

A bit like TJ Oshie when the Caps were in Tampa Bay, Jayden Struble fell on the ice when no contact was made. He left the game and never returned.

When a player gets hurt without any contact, it’s always a bad sign. You can’t identify a situation that would have caused the injury, which often means something has let go of his body.

The lower body is clearly at fault. Is it the knee? Achilles tendon? Ankle? Who knows?

I have a feeling that an injury like this will mean that he’ll either be back within a week… or not at all. And I don’t have the feeling that it will be a short-term thing.

Struble hasn’t missed a game since his recall. He’s played 39 games in a row, and you have to think he won’t be able to make it to 40 tomorrow afternoon in New Jersey.

Johnathan Kovacevic may return to action. Will the Habs recall a defenseman like Justin Barron or Logan Mailloux? Or will they say they don’t need an extra since there’s only one game left on the trip? We’ll see.

But clearly, we can and should be worried about the defender, who was becoming increasingly important to Montreal. We’ll also have to hope that his injury, however serious, won’t be a negative turning point for the American defender.

Note that if Struble isn’t healthy by March 8, the Canadiens won’t have the option of sending him to Laval on paper to make him eligible for the AHL playoffs.

I don’t know if this was the Habs’ plan, but in any case, an injured player can’t be sent to the Rocket.

But that’s obviously not all we should remember about this game, which may not go down in history for the Habs. We’ve seen him play better, let’s say.

What do I remember?

1. We were talking about the Laval Rocket earlier with Struble… and we have to wonder which players not eligible for the waivers will be made available to Jean-François Houle, on paper, for the playoffs.

Juraj Slafkovsky and Kaiden Guhle are theoretically options, but you know as well as I do that there’s no chance of the Habs sending them to Laval for the playoffs. Arber Xhekaj? I think he’s “done his time” down there… but who knows.

The obvious candidate among the guys eligible for the waivers is Joshua Roy. I think the Habs will send him on paper to Laval on March 8 if he’s still with the big club, which is very possible.

After all, he’s currently forcing the Habs’ hand and playing like a guy who wants to stay.

That can change quickly, and the Canadiens can find a way to send him back to Laval quickly. That said, the more time passes, the more we realize that he has what it takes to make his mark.

We’ll see what the club decides.

And let’s not forget that Brandon Gignac is currently on the waivers. The Habs are betting that no one is going to ask for him as a backup to the Rocket.

To replace him, Colin White changed dressing rooms yesterday. He was claimed in the waivers from Pittsburgh and simply got to know his new teammates on the other side of the arena. It was a strange day for Kent Hughes’ former client, in any case.

Note that White, who is possibly here to “fill a sweater” by the end of the season, had a good game, according to his (new) coach. He gave the Habs some good minutes.

So much the better.

2. The Habs may have shot more than the Penguins (31 vs. 27), but they won fewer face-offs, didn’t take advantage of their three power plays and blocked only nine shots yesterday.

The Penguins, on the other hand, scored once on the PP, blocked 20 shots… and applied 10 more checks than the Habs (19 vs. 9) during the game. The devil is in the details, as they say.

3. Josh Anderson needs to give more. Forgive me, I meant Brendan Gallagher, but I’m mixing them up more and more. My mistake.

Yesterday, Gally took an unnecessary penalty that opened the door to a power-play goal by the Penguins, who haven’t had much success in that department this season. Martin St-Louis knows that his player took a nasty penalty, and he suspects that the main player knows it.

4. Still, it’s proof that the Habs lack opportunism. After all, when the Penguins had their chances, they managed to take advantage of them. But the Habs didn’t.

It’s true that the club didn’t play badly in the first period. But if it hadn’t been for Kristopher Letang’s mistake, who seemed to forget that Mike Matheson was no longer playing with him, the Habs would have been in the clear. #Transfers

5. A word was slipped about Matheson’s goal off a Letang pass. We should also mention the fact that a few minutes later, Letang took advantage of a Matheson error to score.

All’s well that ends well?

6. Cayden Primeau doesn’t get to play often, but he has to maximize every opportunity he gets. He did just that last week, against the Ducks…

But he didn’t do it yesterday. His two goals in 21 seconds sank the Habs.

But he shouldn’t bear the brunt of the setback alone. After all, as mentioned, the Habs weren’t opportunistic enough during last night’s game.

Were the guys playing not to make mistakes, knowing that #1 wasn’t dressed? Maybe they were.


With their loss in regular time, the Canadiens continue to distance themselves from the playoffs. That said, it’s undoubtedly keeping the club’s scouts and executives happy for the draft.

The Habs will have a good choice, if it continues – and if luck is on the Habs’ side. #Lottery

Today, the Canadiens have the day off. The club is in New Jersey in preparation for tomorrow’s game, and no one will be talking to the media on this Friday in February.

We’ll see you tomorrow, on game day.

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