Fleury and the Wild closes the door on the Habs

Fleury and the Wild closes the door on the Habs

Summary

MONTREAL – The Canadiens had to be wary of the poor record of Marc-André Fleury and the Minnesota Wild, who won 3-1 at the Bell Centre.

Here are our observations from this meeting when the Montreal company won only one duel against Wild in the last 14 meetings.

Fleury is right to celebrate

Arriving in his corner of the country with a goals-against average of 5.25 going into this matchup, you could suspect that Fleury would want to bounce back against the Habs.

Admitting on Monday that his start to the season “put a curse on him”, the 37-year-old Quebec goalkeeper bounced back brilliantly against CH while enjoying his 25me career victory over the Montreal organization in 45 starts.

“It feels good to make some stops, I had fun,” admitted Fleury, thinking of the problems experienced by his troops and himself before this stop in Montreal.

Fleury was able to hang his trademark smile on his face as he thwarted several Canadian players, including Mike Hoffman, three times. But especially during a penalty shot at the end of which Fleury allowed himself a small celebration.

If he spoke French, Hoffman would surely have had the pleasure of yelling “I’ve had enough,” as Émile Bilodeau would say.

“You can’t get too frustrated when the odds go up. When they’re absent, that’s when it gets more annoying. In some games, against good goalkeepers, it just doesn’t fit,” Hoffman said.

As the night progressed, Fleury also frustrated Brendan Gallagher by causing him to lose his helmet.

The result was perfect for Fleury who was competing in the 944me game of his career to rank sixth in NHL history behind Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Patrick Roy, Terry Sawchuk and Ed Belfour.

Who else but Caufield to score?

Good scorers are lucky or good scorers are lucky. Depends on who starts the comment.

Admittedly, Cole Caufield needed luck to score what was already his fifth goal of the season. His shot deflected off defender Jacob Middleton to surprise Fleury.

This allows Caufield to keep up with the top scorers on the Bettman circuit.

That said, it was the first time this season that CH lost when Caufield hit the mark.

“In the first we had good chances, but it’s as if we hurt ourselves, as if we helped them a little. It was not for lack of will, but for a small lack of execution. In the second, Cole’s goal gave us some wind in our sails, but we shot ourselves in the foot again. At least I liked our third one”, analyzed Martin St-Louis.

Less intense afternoon for young defenders

The encouraging performance of the Canadiens’ young defenders has allowed the Montreal team to do well so far.

On the other hand, Wild was able to expose certain shortcomings of this inexperienced brigade. Whether it’s an unnecessary retort from Arber Xhekaj canceling out a power play, a Johnathan Kovacevic turnover costing a goal, a penalty and a lost puck from Kaiden Guhle.

Naturally, credit also goes to the wild forwards who hit a vein with success. Brandon Duhaime, Matthew Boldy, Marcus Foligno and Ryan Hartman have all put their imposing physique to good use.

David Savard saved the day

The matchup would have been even more dangerous without the contribution of veteran David Savard, who limited the damage more than once.

The one who turned 32me Birthday Saturday was dominantly outnumbered especially when his club had to manage four against three.

The last word to Marc-André Fleury

True to form, Savard paid the price by blocking shots.

In search of a power play

Forecasts before the start of the season are always risky. With the Caufields, Suzuki, Dach, Hoffman, Monahan and Drouin, many believed the Canadian would show more confidence on the power play.

But the production is not up to the task after seven games with just one goal in 21 attempts. Pleasant exchanges were noted, except that actual threats were too rare.

“For me, if you have to move the puck 10 times to make a shot, you probably don’t have the right strategy. I find that a good power play is made with two or three passes, a finish and you start again. Bring records to the net,” St-Louis said.

“We could have easily tied the game in the third half, we threatened. But it is true that we want to fix certain things in our area. That said, it looks pretty good overall and will be even better when the power play takes off,” said skipper Nick Suzuki.

Consequently, Jake Allen had to prevail in front of his net to keep the game close. His jewel of the night came against none other than Kirill Kaprizov as he extended his right leg in the final third.

The CH will begin a four-game stretch Thursday at opposite tracks with stops in Buffalo, St. Louis, Minnesota and Winnipeg.

Caufield perfectly misses his shot

Eriksson-Ek completes the good pool shot

Duhaime sends the Savage forward

“We shot ourselves in the foot tonight”


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