MONTREAL – The Canadian is far from playing a perfect game Monday night in Winnipeg.
It was slow moving in first gear. He blew a two-goal lead again and found himself again in extra time at the end of the third period during which his opponents had three times as many shots (15-5).
But if they didn’t generate a lot of scoring chances, Martin St. Louis’ troops were very stingy with the Jets’ chances. It once again avoided succumbing to panic once the score was settled by the Jets finally finding a way to win.
This 3-2 win, the Habs players are still far from stealing it.
Given that Justin Barron’s game-winning goal, which he scored 69 seconds into overtime under the watchful eye of his brother Morgan, and Christian Dvorak’s goal that put the Habs up 2-0 at the end of the middle period, were scored with a numerical advantage, it would be easy We attribute this second consecutive win to the effectiveness of the special teams.
It would even be justified to do so given that the Canadian scored two goals in three huge attacks and was able to resist the numerical superiority gained by the Jets.
But there is more.
The level of intensity and participation shown by the vast majority of players played an equally important role in this 14th win of the season. The fifth of six decisions falls in overtime. Five wins, added to the three obtained in the penalty shootout, allow the Habs to monitor the last two places reserved for the invited clubs in the series.
This victory allows us to start on a positive note the first part of the holiday trip that the Canadian will continue on Thursday and Friday in Minnesota and Chicago.
“We were rewarded this evening. We played the right way. “It’s a great victory for the team,” agreed Martin St-Louis after the match.
Josh Anderson was one of the key players identified Monday night. While fighting for his position in the push box in front of the Jets cage, Anderson saw the ball hit one of his pads before bouncing past Connor Hellebuyck to give the Canadian a 1-0 lead.
Lucky Anderson in this play? Yes a little! But Anderson increased the odds in his favor by playing as he did with this sequence that allowed him to score the third goal in his last two matches. For all that Anderson endured at the start of the season when he wasted chances despite his best efforts, it cannot be said that he has gone above and beyond when it comes to bad luck in the first 31 games.
Jake Allen was also rewarded. Without being brilliant, he made some strong and important saves out of 30 at the expense of Jets players. His performance culminated in the first victory after seven consecutive defeats (0-6-1). The first win since October 28 when he and his teammates beat the same Jets at the Bell Center after a shootout session.
So hard for him since the start of the season, the hockey gods saved Josh Anderson for the second time in Winnipeg on Monday. They even smiled at him for his team’s second goal. Goal scored by Christian Dvorak after a hand pass from Anderson.
This illegal pass evaded the referee, who awarded the goal in real time. To everyone’s surprise, even Dvorak, who seemed ready to admit guilt immediately, the referee maintained his decision after consulting with his three accomplices.
Replays indicated that the ball was never touched with the stick between the time it left Anderson’s hand before Dvorak redirected it, leading Jets coach Rick Bowness to confidently question the authenticity of the goal.
The review was endless.
But although it was very difficult to prove the correctness of the referee, given all the attempts available to him, it was impossible to say with certainty that he had incorrectly counted the goal.
Hence the decision to confirm the goal and not cancel it.
“If the goal had been disallowed initially, we would also have been obligated to support the on-ice decision because the information provided by the replay was not conclusive,” explained a league official contacted at the Toronto control room.
“We had the impression that the ball hit Andy’s (Josh Anderson) stick, but we crossed our fingers while waiting for the decision,” frankly admitted Martin St. Louis, who understood well why his opponent contested the goal. Which doesn’t really look good!
Cohesion is established
After the game, Martin St. Louis, who was smiling, relaxed and very talkative, gave one of his longest press statements of the season at the end of a match played abroad.
A press conference during which he insisted that cohesion was now firmly established within his team.
“I think we are united like we have never been since I took over. It takes time to achieve this kind of cohesion. We pay attention to the details that make the difference whether we are playing with or without the puck. We are growing as a team. Guys understand when they need to jump into action. I like it Really creating our lines and what they give us once we get on the ice. “We play with five players on the ice, and when you play like that, it’s tough to play against,” the coach said.
This version is interesting. Because it is true that despite losing the lead over the last three games, the Canadian is showing more cohesion on the ice. It seems more organized or less organized depending on your view of the situation. We feel more confident on the ice. At least a little.
Yes, the Habs’ success still depends a lot on their goalie pads.
Yes, the Hab still gets stuck quite often during very long periods in the defensive zone. Sequences during which he runs out of steam and becomes vulnerable. Also at the end of this series, Gabriel Vilardi scored the first goal for the Jets at the end of the second half.
Yes, the fourth line is often downgraded on the ice.
Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done.
But youngsters Kayden Gohle and Juraj Slavkovski had another solid game on Monday. Just like Jayden Strobel is playing more solid and effective hockey than Arber Xhekaj did before he was sacked from the farm club in Laval.
Despite being closely marked by Adam Lowry and wingers Nino Niederreiter and Mason Appleton, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield ended up generating an excellent scoring chance late in the game.
The trios centered around Jake Evans and Krystian Dvorak were also effective on Monday.
From the way they played, and from the effort and quality it took to play a good game on the road, we can understand why Josh Anderson, Jake Allen and co finally got a reward in Winnipeg.
However, the last time Martin St. Louis praised his players – he called the Canadiens’ 3-2 shootout loss in Las Vegas on October 30 the best game since he took over. And last time – they then suffered three defeats in one match. Row and seven in nine matches. All in normal time.
Will they avoid the same trap this time?
Between the lines
The Canadian has now achieved 11 victories and earned points in 15 out of 19 matches decided by one goal since the start of the season…
The Canadian achieved nine wins against only two losses in regular time (9-2-0-2) when he scored the first goal since the beginning of the season…
On the contrary, he only won five times (5-11-1-1) when he conceded the first goal in the match…
– Justin Barron scored his first game-winning goal of the season Monday night in Winnipeg. However, it was the third of his six goals that gave the Habs a one-goal lead. Cole Caufield (4) and Alex Newhook (4) are the only ones ahead of Barron in this regard…
– The Canadian remains unbeaten (7-0-0-0) when it enjoys the lead after two periods. He won twice while leading by one goal, three times by two goals, once by three goals and once by four goals or more…
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