About Last Night: Penalties, injuries continue to be problem for Habs

The Montreal Canadiens gave up three power play goals en route to a 5-2 loss against the Minnesota Wild.

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A game like last night’s calls for a Yogi-ism: it was like déjà vu all over again.

The Montreal Canadiens potentially lost another key player in Kaiden Guhle and gave up three power play goals en route to a 5-2 drubbing at the hands of the Minnesota Wild Tuesday at the Bell Centre.

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A shorthanded Wild, it should be noted: due to injuries, they could only dress 17 skaters instead of the usual 18. It didn’t matter. In nets, they started Marc-André Fleury in what could be his final game in Montreal. He received a hometown salute after being named first star in the Minny win.

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It wasn’t just the penalty kill coming up short last night. In the first period, the Habs also conceded two shorthanded goals on the same power play. Brandon Duhaime elected to shoot on a two-on-one and beat Sam Montembeault glove side to open the scoring.

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Just 25 seconds later, Duhaime was on another odd man rush, only this time Connor Dewar tapped home the rebound to give the Wild a 2-0 lead.

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Early in the second, with Juraj Slafkovsky and Guhle in the box, Joel Eriksson Ek scored his first of two on the power play. He was an immovable object in front of Montembeault all evening.

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It was a very one-sided first half, with the Wild at one point up 20-5 in shots. Tanner Pearson got Montreal’s first shot on goal of the second period just around the midway point, and he made it count with yet another laser beam. His injury woes of a year ago appear to be a thing of the past. The Habs trailed 3-1.

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After Guhle left for the dressing room, on the power play Kirill Kaprizov scored his first on the season from a sharp angle to give the Wild a 4-1 lead heading into the third.

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Penalty problems for the Habs continued, as Arber Xhekaj took an ill-advised infraction as the second period expired. It allowed the Wild to start the third with the man-advantage.

The Wild didn’t score on that power play, but with Pearson then in the box, Eriksson Ek delivered the 5-1 dagger to put the game even further out of reach.

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With Josh Anderson and Eriksson Ek off to the showers prematurely for their part in a skirmish, Alex Newhook scored his third as a Hab. The game ended with a 5-2 win for the Wild.

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With Kirby Dach officially out for the season after sustaining tears to his ACL and MCL in his right knee, Michael Pezzetta saw his first action of the season and wound up in two fights, the second after a massive-yet-clean open ice body check on Jon Merrill.

The Canadiens have 85 penalty minutes after just three games, including 40 against the Wild. Slafkovsky took two penalties that’ll give coach Martin St. Louis, and the Liveblog commenters, a few more greys.

After Dach, Laval prospect Emil Heineman and first rounder David Reinbacher all got hurt in quick succession, the commenters were convinced last year’s cloud of poor health was still hanging over the club. Now Guhle is being evaluated for an upper body injury. The Canadiens sport a 1-1-1 record, but some of the optimism that comes with every new season has already evaporated.

In Dach’s place, Newhook scored a garbage time goal, but according to last night’s Hockey Stat Card he showed more promise than most.

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Here’s how the Liveblog commenters felt about the loss.

3. “One of the worst games I can remember in ages. Just absolutely horrendous in every way.” — Marc Taillefer

2. “Disappointing. Don’t expect them to win every game, but hoped this season we would see a more consistent effort with each game. Wasn’t the case tonight…they seemed disorganized, took too many stupid penalties and didn’t play with any real intensity.” — Bob Taylor

1. “Physically outmuscled tonight. So many lost puck battles.” — Derek Stevens

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