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Four points from three games: displeasing Tankathon, pleasing purists
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Last night, the Canadiens were in Nashville to take on the Predators. The local club was on an eight-game winning streak before hitting a wall named Jake Allen and losing in overtime, 4-3.

Am I pushing Allen’s luck or not?

Of course, as with every Flanelle win for a while now, the same comments about tanking always come up. Every time the club gets a point in the standings, we hear that the Habs don’t even know how to tank.

(Credit: Tankathon)

As if it’s healthy to wish the Habs the longest losing streak in NHL history from now on…

Let’s face it: I’ve thought about it, too, with the Habs doing the opposite of leaving points on the table. In their last three games, the Habs have four points by virtue of two overtime losses in Florida and a win in Tennessee.

And let’s face it: it wasn’t against celery stalks either. Both Florida teams are good teams, and yesterday, the Predators arrived with the confidence of a club that had just stuck eight in a row.

But when Jake goes, everything goes?

If the Habs had lost, I wouldn’t have thrown the first stone at the guys for dropping the W, because the rebuilding context is important. But it’s also important to remember that winning games is just as important.

Guys are programmed to do that, and yesterday, seeing that Nashville was beaten made the players in the dressing room happy. That’s important.

If Habs management wants to make sure they lose as often as possible, they should take something off the players between now and Friday’s deadline. I have no problem with that.

In any case, the club still has the toughest schedule in the NHL between now and the end of the season.

But to say the Habs are winning too much when they’ve only had two wins (including one against the Coyotes, who had lost 12 in a row before showing up at the Bell Centre) in over three weeks?

I don’t eat that kind of bread.

It’s worth mentioning that the Habs played a good game. They may have been lucky on David Savard’s goal, but that’s part of the game. And most importantly, as Martin St-Louis mentioned, there were no passengers in the Habs lineup last night.

It’s an important game for the group’s collective learning process, and it’s a pleasure for purists who don’t just think about the draft and want to win at all costs.

But that’s not all we should remember about this match.

What caught my attention on the sidelines of the game, which was played three days before the National Hockey League’s notorious trade deadline?

1. The Canadiens’ first trio didn’t have the game of the year defensively. But despite this, Nick Suzuki (one overtime goal and one assist) and Cole Caufield (two assists) found a way to help the club win in overtime.

Captain Ryan Nick Suzuki scored his 100th NHL goal. And it was on a beautiful pass from #22, who has 31 assists this season… and had 31 in his NHL career before the start of the season.

2. Joshua Roy, Friday at 3pm, should be a member of the Laval Rocket… on paper. To be available to play in the playoffs for the Rocket, he must be in the Laval Rocket lineup at the time of the deadline.

But expect him to be called up soon (with one of the four call-ups) to continue proving that he belongs in an NHL locker room.

More specifically, the Flannel’s.

Seeing Patrick Joshua Roy play the way he does is a good sign for the future. On his goal, for example, it’s easy to pinpoint his shot as the highlight of the sequence, but his puck protection work in the neutral zone is simply magnificent.

3. Jake Allen won a hockey game with 25 saves on 28 shots. After getting three wins (and the Molson Cup) in October, he’s only gotten, including yesterday, three wins since: December 18 against the Jets, January 15 against the Avalanche and yesterday, against the Predators.

Yesterday’s win, like the other two, was against a good team. Will this “showcase game” be enough to attract a club’s attention? If Kent Hughes works his magic, maybe, but…

4. Speaking of showcases, Brendan Gallagher’s marq- ah pis laissez faire: it’s not him I want to talk about.

Speaking of showcases, David Savard scored yesterday, but that’s not what a club looking for him needs to remember. Rather, it’s his differential (+3) that’s fascinating and revealing.

Against a club like Nashville, it’s truly impressive.

But, of course, we’ll remember his goal, which left the Predators’ keeper in a position every goalie dreams of: behind the net when the puck goes in.

5. Yesterday, Mike Matheson picked up an assist (his 36th of the season) on the winning goal, bringing his total to 44 points in 62 games this season. He played 27 minutes.

I wonder how much the phone is ringing… even though he’s probably not on the market.


Yesterday, the Habs played with only three center players as Colin White, who was injured in training earlier this week, gave way to Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, who returned from injury.

The latter played center by default and was 0-in-5 in the face-off circle.

The Habs may have 13 healthy forwards in town (the 12 who played yesterday plus Michael Pezzetta), but there are only three centers in the lineup at the time of writing: Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans and Alex Newhook.

Will Brandon Gignac get an encore? Will the Habs finish the trip with just three centers?

Because no, the trip isn’t over. We’ve got one more game tomorrow night in Carolina before returning to Montreal for deadline day on Friday.

The Habs will also train today at 1 p.m. in Carolina to face the formidable Jesperi Kotkaniemi and his gang.

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