About Last Night: Habs outplay the Cup champs in shootout loss

The Canadiens had a season-high 39 shots on Monday night.

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After getting outshot and winning their previous two games, the shoe was on the other foot for the Montreal Canadiens in a 3-2 shootout loss against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Monday.

The Habs set a season high in shots with 39, but it was Shea Theodore who sealed the win for the defending Cup champs in round four of the shootout.

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On his 27th birthday, Sam Montembeault made 24 saves, including a couple of game savers in overtime.

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Mike Matheson played after leaving Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury, but wasn’t quite his usual self. Kaiden Guhle had another impressive game following his return from injury, leading the team in ice-time with 26:08.

Penalty trouble reared its ugly head early for the Habs. With under five minutes left in the first period and Jordan Harris in the box, Paul Cotter’s shot was deflected by Matheson and beat Montembeault to give the home team a 1-0 lead.

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The Habs outshot the Golden Knights 10-2 in the second period, but the only one that mattered was given to Sean Monahan on a silver platter by goalie Adin Hill. Monahan scored in the open cage to tie it up 1-1.

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With a delayed penalty coming to Montreal late in the second period, William Carrier reinstated Vegas’ one-goal lead with an extra skater on. The Golden Knights led 2-1 after 40 minutes.

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The Canadiens kept pressing in the third period. A dominant shift by the top line was rewarded when Cole Caufield at the point set up Rafael Harvey-Pinard in the circle, who found Nick Suzuki at the door step for the game-tying tap-in in his 300th NHL career game. No offence to your average West Coast road trip game in October, but last night was better than your average West Coast road trip game in October.

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Overtime solved nothing, although you can thank the birthday boy Montembeault for that.

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It took four rounds in the shootout, but Theodore finally iced it to give the Golden Knights an impressive 9-0-1 record in October. Of all the NHL teams to not suffer a Cup hangover, it’s the team from Las Vegas. Go figure. Meanwhile, Alex Newhook is going to hear the post in his nightmares: after hitting a puck post to post and out earlier, he hit the post again in the shootout with the game on the line.

Guhle and Justin Barron were beasts according to Hockey Stat Cards, while the second line continues to struggle without Kirby Dach.

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The other eye-popping stat from last night: Monahan went 20-24 on faceoffs, and won all of the important ones. With Dach out for the season, the replacement second line centre has been here all along, and his name is Sean Monahan. Is he the missing link that can get Josh Anderson and Juraj Slafkovsky to finally end their goalless droughts?

Kudos to the Liveblog commenters for staying up for this one. Some of them were planning on watching the first then hitting the hay with the television on in the background, but were instead treated to some surprisingly riveting early season hockey. The commenters disagree on most players—they even disagreed on Carey Price for the last decade—but I’ve yet to see any negative commentary around Guhle.

3. “Great game by the habs bit of a statement game early in the season.” -John Crew

2. “This was a really entertaining game. Habs outplayed the SC Champs but came up just short.” -Kelly Morgan

1. “That save by Monty is a top 10 of the year thus far !!” -Alex Polidoro

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