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The Canadiens rank third in the NHL for overtime shootout losses
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Last night, to complete the Alberta leg of their Western trip, the Canadiens took on the Oilers. Trevor Letowski’s men lost in overtime, 3-2.

The club is now 0-1-1 since its head coach took a break to join his family.

Those who saw the game will know that the Habs didn’t win, but they did get some moral victories in the process. If moral victories counted, the Habs would be in the playoffs this season…

Joking aside, holding off a good hockey club like the Oilers showed that the club can hold its own against good teams. The two-goal comeback in the third and the way the Habs survived several Oilers power plays is also a good sign.

In particular, it took 3:45 off a four-minute penalty (the majority of which went into overtime) before conceding and losing the game.

What this means is that the Habs have picked up another point in the standings. For the 12th time this season, the Habs didn’t get the W, but helped their cause in the standings.

And when I say helped, I’m talking from the point of view of getting points, not tanking.

(Credit: Tankathon)

In fact, when you look at the standings, only two teams have more than 12 overtime setbacks this season: the Bruins and the Islanders. They’re both at 15 each.

This means that the Montreal club will be looking for points that will take them higher up the standings.


I’m the first to say that you shouldn’t want to lose every time, because it can destroy a club in the long term to keep losing, but I’m not crazy either: ranking points don’t help the Habs, and I know it.

If we took a few points off the standings, the Habs would be in a better position to draft well this summer. It makes sense.

When you take for granted that clubs like the Kraken and the Penguins will be hard to catch, and that it’s the same for the Ducks, the Blackhawks and the Sharks, you can see that the Habs are realistically up against three clubs: the Coyotes, the Sens and the Blue Jackets.

And even then, Columbus is a stretch.

With 12 overtime or shootout points in losses, it’s clear that this explains why the Habs are ahead of Arizona and Ottawa. These two clubs have 28 wins (three more than the Habs), but they also have seven and eight fewer overtime losses respectively than the Habs.

That makes all the difference.

That said, in these clubs, defeat has been accepted/normal for so long that it’s clear the fire has been extinguished. It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel there.

It’s not like in Montreal, where that kind of rage still exists. Yesterday, Nick Suzuki really wanted to win and you can feel it.

But that’s not all we have to remember about this second game of five in the West. Vancouver, Seattle and Denver are also on the menu.

So, what did I notice?

1. The Canadiens gave the Oilers five numerical advantages. The club did well short-handed against the home team, but in the end, defending four-on-three against the Oilers’ big guns became too much.

And it’s not as if Joel Armia (who would have been useful in such circumstances) absolutely deserved to be punished for his action in the first place.

2. The Habs are trying to build a good club for the future… but every game against the Oilers reminds the club that no, they don’t have a Connor McDavid in their prospect pipeline .

What a great game from the Oilers captain, though.

3. Samuel Montembeault didn’t do a bad job during the game, on the contrary. He couldn’t do much on the first and third goals of the game, and he kept his team in the game in difficult moments.

He made 29 saves on 32 shots.

4. Josh Anderson doesn’t look like he wants to play hockey right now. His commitment on the ice isn’t exceptional and he seems to be having trouble shaking off his lethargy.

We’re not asking him to fight like Michael Pezzetta, but he could take a leaf out of Joel Armia’s book – and that’s a sentence I didn’t expect to write this season.

5. Kaiden Guhle is an Edmonton guy who played a portion of his junior career in Edmonton. In the last few days, he went to eat at his mother’s and it did him good.

If that’s what it takes to see him score like that… the club could ask his mother to come to Montreal once in a while to see her guy. No?

6. Nick Suzuki didn’t score the finest goal of his career, but it was his 27th of the season, a career high. He has 27 goals and 37 assists for 64 points. He’s closing in on his record of 40 assists and 66 points, and he’s also approaching the point-per-game mark. He has played 68 games so far.

Above all, he’s working hard and inspiring the boys. And that’s important.


Even though the Habs played one of their best games of the season, according to the club’s interim coach, the Habs need to move on quickly as they still have a long journey ahead of them.

Tomorrow night, at 10pm, the Canucks will be on the menu. Training is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. (Quebec time) today in Vancouver.

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