Sooner or later, the Canadian was going to lose one in 60 minutes. Sooner or later the hellish pace of the attack would slow down. Sooner or later, the Habs would face an elite goalkeeper.
It all happened on Saturday night. Jacob Markstrom is not David Rittich, much less Mikko Koskinen. Markstrom gave the Habs their best opposition of the season, and the Flames goaltender left the Bell Center with his second shutout in six games, a 2-0 triumph over the CH.
For a first loss, it was not a problem, mind you. After several one-sided triumphs, one might have expected Claude Julien’s men to be victims of a “stock market correction”, but they fought with dignity. It’s a game they basically lost on a silly shorthanded mistake – never a good idea to give Johnny Gaudreau all that time and space – while on the other end Markstrom did his job. . The other goal was scored in an empty net.
“He’s a good goalie, but there is always a way to score,” said Brendan Gallagher. We didn’t take advantage of our chances and he made some good saves. But sometimes the defenders would shoot and his sight was not blocked enough. ”
If there is one idea that comes up often in interviews since the start of the season, it’s that the Canadian can play “all styles of play”. Marc Bergevin set the tone by stating it on day 1 of training camp. Her players repeated it, and on Friday it was Flames head coach Geoff Ward’s turn to pitch it.
Let’s understand: Ward was probably saying it in part to make his old ally Claude Julien look good, but there was some truth to it.
It is still intriguing to note that the Montrealers lost the first game of the season to look like a playoff game. It is precisely for this type of game that the team is supposedly better equipped, with the addition of robust players who almost all arrived with a Stanley Cup ring on their finger.
A robust match, punctuated by several quarrels between the players (we will come back to this), where the games which gave goals seemingly so easy, until now, were no longer present. Moreover, this is probably the first game of the season where the Habs did not get a breakaway.
Having said that, there is a difference between losing a game of this style and not being able to practice this style. On this subject, Ben Chiarot had an explanation.
“We have young people like Nick Suzuki, Jake Evans, even Alexander Romanov, who is not afraid of rough play. By gaining experience, we become more comfortable in these somewhat hotter matches. The more it goes, the more comfortable they will be and we will see them play more robustly, explained Chiarot.
Another good body check
Because yes, there was robustness. Jesperi Kotkaniemi paid the price, tackled solidly by Dillon Dube. It was particularly heated between Gallagher and Mikael Backlund, the two number 11, who pecked like Kevin and Buzz during the McCallisters’ travel preparations.
In the undercard, Josh Leivo against Alexander Romanov, Corey Perry against Rasmus Andersson, Gallagher against Andersson. Unsurprisingly, the two clans seemed to shout insults at each other as they returned to the locker room at the sound of the final siren. The effect of consecutive matches against the same teams is starting to be felt …
“We knew the level of animosity was going to rise,” Gallagher said. Our team likes to kind of match. I think the toughness helped us in our game. We just weren’t able to put it in. You have to work more than their guardian. ”
After two weeks of action, many feared too low a caliber in the North Division. We saw the Flames better rested than Thursday, who played in front of a better goalkeeper. Here are reinvigorated Canucks, with an Elias Pettersson who found himself, who land at the Bell Center Monday and Tuesday.
The 5-1 and 7-3 wins may not be so many. We will see how the Canadian will adjust in other styles of matches.
Tkachuk sweet as a lamb
On Thursday, we saw Matthew Tkachuk throw the gloves off against Ben Chiarot. The day before, against the Toronto Maple Leafs, he went crazy after Jake Muzzin weakly sent a puck towards him after the final siren. It was therefore legitimate to wonder which Canadian player would taste his medicine on Saturday. Now Keith’s son was gentle as a lamb. It was less successful offensively – his line was completely dominated in possession of the puck 5 on 5 – but it was contained all night, much to the delight of his coach. “He’s a guy who plays with emotion,” said Geoff Ward. But we want him on the ice. He is expected to be emotionally involved in the game, but to remain in control. That’s what he did. ”
Defender Juuso Valimaki had had a pitiful game in the defeat of his team on Thursday. And on Saturday, he didn’t look like a future Norris Trophy winner either. But he definitely deserves the Medal for Courage for throwing himself in front of a Shea Weber pitch early in the second period as the Canadiens played on the power play. “We saw everyone on the bench hitting with his stick to encourage him; it’s little things like these that can change the momentum in a game, ”said goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom. On this last point, we will keep a reserve, since the Flames did not have any chance to score in the second period, according to the NaturalStatTrick site. That didn’t stop Markstrom, despite a sparkling performance, benefitting from a concerted effort from his teammates, who blocked 22 shots. Rasmus Andersson alone stopped five.
Toffoli in all sauces
Tyler Toffoli duly earned his salary on Saturday night. After Josh Anderson retired to the locker room early in the second period, Claude Julien turned to him to play to the right of Nick Suzuki and Jonathan Drouin. Moreover, Toffoli was one of the strikers most used in numerical inferiority and was the player of the Canadian who played the most at 5 against 4. We arrive at a grand total of 22:08, very close to his personal high of 22:47 set in October 2016. Without ruining his shift, the three turnovers added to his record however represent a shadow on the board. He made his most spectacular blunder just before mid-game when, on a power play, he cleared a puck with the skate that landed directly on Mark Giordano’s stick. A few seconds later, he himself received a penalty which canceled the massive attack of his family.
Mete in turmoil
Victor Mete hasn’t played in any of his team’s eight games this season, and frankly, no one was talking about him. That changed drastically during the second intermission on Saturday night, when TSN reporter Salim Nadim Valji wrote on Twitter that the defender had demanded a deal. It did not take more to ignite social networks. A little later, Pierre LeBrun, also of TSN, indicated instead that the general manager of the Canadiens, Marc Bergevin, had denied the rumor and affirmed that he was not going to trade the 22-year-old. Late in the evening, Mete’s agent Darren Ferris wrote to Press that it had become “clear that [Mete] would not play ”. “In an ideal world, he would like to stay in Montreal, but under the current circumstances, it is impossible”, he continued, adding that a transaction would be the best scenario “for the player and for the team” . – Simon-Olivier Lorange
It looked like a blow directly to the head. I’m not sure what they [les arbitres] saw, but from my angle it was at the head.
Ben Chiarot, on the shoulder of Dillon Dubé to the head Jesperi Kotkaniemi
I didn’t see him, he arrived quite quickly. I don’t have a lot of comments to make.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi, on the same subject
I liked Webby’s response. This is what will happen every time [qu’on s’en prend à un joueur du CH].
Brendan Gallagher, on the same streak
I don’t need to say a lot, it’s pretty obvious.
Claude Julien, always about this contact
When we acquired Jake [Allen], we were thrilled. We know that when Price isn’t around, we have a guy who is just as reliable. We don’t lose anything. He had a great game.
We had a lot of chances, it just wasn’t in our favor. We will have to take advantage of our chances.
[En avantage numérique] maybe we were looking for more beautiful games instead of shooting. We sometimes forced games. We could have created feedback.
When your goalie plays like this, you can’t lose. Guys blocked shots, got invested, but it’s [Jacob Markstrom] which has been our mainstay.
We haven’t played much with the lead lately, so it felt good to score the first goal. […] We played smart in the third period, keeping the forwards [du Canadien] in front of us and by limiting the surplus numbers. We didn’t get caught.
I enjoyed our defensive work in the first and third periods, but in the second we gave them a ton of chances. There are things to build on and things to learn from.
Geoff Ward, Flames head coach
– Interview by Guillaume Lefrançois and Simon-Olivier Lorange
Flu-like symptoms for Anderson
The news caused confusion on the press gallery in the second half when it was learned that Josh Anderson would not be returning to play in this game. No matter how hard we looked, no one could find the suspicious streak during which the big right winger could have been injured. After the meeting, Claude Julien revealed that Anderson was showing flu-like symptoms instead and that the club’s medical staff sent him home. He has been tested for COVID-19, which has come back negative, and will be tested again on Sunday, when the team will be on full leave. “With everything going on right now, our staff have acted cautiously,” said Julien.
– Simon-Olivier Lorange
He has nothing to be ashamed of for his first loss of the season. He kept his team in the game and delivered a better performance than when he last started.
Only one shot despite more than 16 minutes of play. He had his good times on the power play, he got involved in net, but was rather quiet at even strength.
The number of the match
Again this figure… This time, it’s Johnny Gaudreau, who extends his series of games to seven with at least one point. And, while he’s at it, Nick Suzuki sees his stop at seven!