It's amazing the impact a 30-second sequence can have on a game. The case that interests us occurred in the second period.
• Also read: The CH can't do it against the stars
• Also read: Fierce clash between Harvey-Pinard and Armia
• Also read: Joshua Roy recalled by Canadian
It was those 30 short seconds that made the difference in the Canadian's 3-2 loss to the Dallas Stars.
This happened after less than four minutes, when the Canadians led 1-0 after a goal from Nick Suzuki right at the start of the period. Rafael Harvey-Pinard then injured his lower body when he collided with Joel Armia.
As he crawled across the ice to the team bench, Thomas Harley tied the game and 24 seconds later Tyler Seguin scored the first of his two goals in the period, giving the Stars a lead they never lost thereafter.
MTL-DAL: Collision between Harvey-Pinard and Armia –
It may just be a coincidence, but the Canadiens' players appeared stunned for a few moments following the injury to Harvey-Pinard, who was just returning from a long absence due to another lower-body injury.
“I don’t think their minds were anywhere else,” Martin St-Louis said. We lacked defensive commitment in our zone, especially in the second third. As soon as we got a puck back, they came back and you have to be committed to come through.”
While Samuel Montembault admitted that it was only later that he realized that Harvey-Pinard was no longer there, Juraj Slafkovsky agreed with St-Louis and mentioned that the sequence did not bother the team.
“I don’t think it distracted us, they played well and scored two goals. We had a lot of chances to come back, but nothing came of it.”
Defeat against Dallas: Comments from St-Louis –
The Canadian didn't receive many penalties throughout the game, but it was enough to influence the rest of the game. The four-minute penalty given to Jake Evans at the end of the game was particularly painful.
“We played a pretty good game, there are certain events that we have no influence on, but we can't take so many penalties,” emphasized Slafkovsky. It breaks the rhythm and with six minutes to go it’s difficult.”
For his part, Montembault, who impressed with 36 saves, explained that the different use of players on special teams also influenced the pace of the game.
“It's hard to find a rhythm because there are guys who play more often and others who stay on the bench.”
The Bleu-Blanc-Rouge allowed the Stars perhaps 21 shots in the second period, in which the visitors scored their three goals, but otherwise played a pretty decent game.
“In the first phase we played a damn good phase and couldn't score a goal. It would have been fun because we had good chances,” lamented Martin St-Louis.
“They hurt us in the second period, we scored a great goal in the second and we played well in the third,” St-Louis added.
Montembault particularly noted that the Stars played their style of game well.
Defeat to Dallas: Montembeault's comments –
“They are a team that takes a lot of shots from the point, but then puts the puck behind the goal and tries to find a player in the middle to score. We saw it with Seguin's second goal.
“It's a team that is good in front of goal with a man like that [Joe] Pavelski accepts feedback. It's up to us to take our boys with us. We made good adjustments on the power play.”
The power play failed to produce a goal on four occasions, but the Canadian had some good moments with an extra man.
“It’s starting to click,” admitted Mike Matheson, who picked up two assists. When we look at the game, we had chances to score, we created a lot of chances and it's a little frustrating to know that we had anything like a positive impact on the game.
However, one wonders if we should be worried about the top lineup of Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky carrying the team on their shoulders offensively. Together they were involved in 13 of the team's last 16 goals. Against the Stars, Suzuki collected one goal and one assist in his last six games, for a total of ten points. With an assist, Caufield extended his streak of games with at least one point to 11, and Slafkovsky scored the team's other goal.
MTL-DAL: What a recording by Nick Suzuki –
The other three have to find ways to take some of the pressure off the shoulders of the three friends, who have a lot to do these days.
“It's a challenge and I don't know if we'll have the answers right away. “It’s a juggling act and we’ll work on it,” Martin St-Louis said simply.
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