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Game 29: Canadiens vs Avalanche AKA Another One Bites the Dust

December 5, 2019, 10:36 PM ET [166 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Canadiens can hold their heads high tonight, Jesperi Kotkaniemi fell on his sword after playing for just 47 seconds and the Habs still manage to put up a good fight against Colorado while being a man down. The Canadiens announced that he would not be back in the second period but the way he fell suggests that he could be out for quite a while... look at the landing straight on his head and the way his neck bent:

While some say this was a clean it, I do believe there was a hint of a slew foot there. We can all expect someone to be called up from Laval to make up for this big loss which comes at the worst of times as Kotkaniemi had been reunited with his fellow Finns and had been playing better lately. After that injury, the Canadiens looked somewhat frozen in place. At one stage, the Avs were leading 9-1 shots wise and they eventually took a 2 goal lead through the first period. At the end of the first frame though the Canadiens had climbed back up shots wise and both sides had taken 15 of them. Unfortunately though, the Tricolore were also committing a lot of giveaways and against a team like Colorado, that's a risky game.

The Avs added a 3rd goal in the second period 8 minutes in before Brendan Gallagher jumped started the Canadiens once more by making it 3-1 with Philip Danault getting a helper on the play. Colorado dominated the second with 13 shots to the Habs' 8 and Montreal added another 6 giveaways... both Cale Fleury and Otto Leskinen each committed 3 giveaways and in Leskinen's case he did it in just 7 minutes 37 of play. I guess at least he played a couple more minutes than Olofsson did in the last game.

The Habs did turn it up in the third period and only allowed Colorado to take 7 shots and even managed to get back within one when Nick Cousins scored a power play goal thanks to a Max Domi pass. It was too much, too little too late however and even a sixth skater couldn't allow the Canadiens to tie things up even though they came oh so very close. When all was said and done though, the Habs lost that one 3-2...

Plenty of positives to take away from that game however:
-The Canadiens did manage to shut down the Avs power play which drew a blank in 3 opportunities;
-Cayden Primeau faced 35 shots and made 32 saves for a .914 save percentage. He was visibly nervous at times but did rather well in the circumstances;
-Ben Chiarot continues to be a workhorse for the Canadiens logging in 28 minutes 54 seconds of ice-time (Weber came in at 25:24 and Petry at 22:44). The fact that Chariot played well is a positive but needing to play him that much is not sustainable... if Leskinen cannot play more than 7 minutes, Julien will have to find someone else to dress;
-Armia finished the game with a -1 rating but he did take 6 shots and dish out 5 hits;
-Considering that the Canadiens were one centre short and that the had to rotate centres, this was a very good performance with new lines more often than not.

Claude Julien confirmed that Jesperi Kotkaniemi would not be travelling to New York with the team (to nobody's surprise) but the Habs have yet to announce if they'll recall someone. Considering that KK is a centre, this could mean a few things. Either you put Suzuki at centre and bring Hudon back in the line-up or you call-up Poehling and give him another chance. Considering that he got himself 3 assists in his last game with Laval, the timing might just be right for him. The puck drops at 19:00 in New York tomorrow and Carey Price will be aiming to get back at the Rangers after they lit him up for 6 goals two weeks ago.
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