MONTREAL – After a stint that took them to Western Canada and Seattle, the Canadiens were back at home on Saturday as they took on Philip Danault and the Los Angeles Kings. They won 4-2. Here is the summary of the meeting in five observations.
The Kings carried by their veterans
The Kings have been resolutely carried by their veterans since the start of the season and tonight’s match was no exception, as it was Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson who scored the first two goals of the game in the space of 19 seconds halfway through the first period.
Kopitar scored his eighth of the campaign after a particularly skilful pass from newcomer Kevin Fiala, then Arvidsson also scored his eighth after deceiving CH goalkeeper Jake Allen with a quick wrist shot in the top of the net.
Fiala hasn’t disappointed since signing a 7-year contract worth US$55.125 million with the Kings this summer, as he now has 9 goals and 22 assists in 30 games. The California club acquired its rights to the Minnesota Wild on June 29 as it prepared to become a restricted free agent. The Swiss had had the best season of his career in 2021-2022, scoring 33 goals and obtaining 52 assists in 82 games.
Hoffman scores on his return
Returning to the lineup after an eight-game absence, Mike Hoffman had an uneventful night until he scored his sixth goal since the start of the season with a wrist shot that left absolutely no chance at Phoenix Copley.
To some extent, Hoffman picked up where he left off as he was having his best moments of the campaign when he fell in battle. The forward is riding an interesting streak of six points (four goals and two assists) in as many games at that time.
That said, while some observers loudly claimed his presence on the ice on the power play, he was unable to put an end to the slump of the unit which plays with the advantage of a man. , which continued for a third straight game.
Dach in the middle, then back to the wing
In the absence of Sean Monahan, who missed a second straight game with what appears to be a foot injury, Kirby Dach found himself at the center of the third line alongside Juraj Slafkovsky and Hoffman. But difficult to say that he had a great evening …
In fact, the first time Dach truly made his presence felt was when he found himself to the right of his former linemates Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield for the moment of a presence on the ice. returning from a shorthanded position during which Josh Anderson had been used. Posted in net, Dach allowed Suzuki and Caufield to have fun.
It is therefore surely no coincidence that Dach regained his place on the right of Suzuki and Caufield in the third period. All three players had a solid presence at one point, but Caufield’s goal was disallowed after replay determined the puck had stalled on the crossbar behind Copley.
Caufield, however, recovered with around two and a half minutes to play taking advantage of a huge giveaway from Copley, who should have made the save. This had the effect of spicing up a game that lacked interest after the Kings’ third goal scored by Alexander Edler.
A rare start for Copley
Although now 36, Jonathan Quick continues to be the Kings’ go-to man in net, as his assistant Phoenix Copley was playing just his second game this season. Tuesday night against the Ottawa Senators, the former Saint Louis Blues and Washington Capitals had done well by making 29 saves on 31 shots.
Head coach Todd McLellan explained earlier Saturday that he decided to send Copley into the fray because his teammates had played well together in front of him. McLellan obviously had flair, as the Habs players were uninspired on offense.
It must be said that at 6 feet 4 inches, Copley takes up a lot of space in front of his cage and all the saves he made seemed particularly easy. During the numerical superiorities of the Canadians, he was able to control his returns well and limit the chances of scoring.
A battered defense
With the absences of David Savard and Mike Matheson (upper body), the Canadians were obviously deprived of the services of two veterans in defense and unsurprisingly, the pair formed by Joel Edmundson and Kaiden Guhle were the most used by the coach- chef Martin St-Louis.
Playing his first season in the National Hockey League, Guhle quickly became a pillar of the Montreal defensive unit, but he nevertheless remains a rookie and commits fouls as was the case on Kopitar’s goal. Hypnotized by the puck carried by Fiala, who had a strong game, Guhle missed his cover on Kopitar who did not ask for so much.