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Canadiens score very early and very, very late to edge the Blues

Canadiens score very early and very, very late to edge the Blues
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The Canadiens were the dominant team for the first 28 minutes, but they fell into an old, bad habit after taking a 2-1 lead at 7:42 of the second period. The Canadiens have thrived this season by using their speed to push the attack. But after taking the lead, they seemed more interested in falling back into a defensive shell. The result was that St. Louis turned the tables with an aggressive forecheck of their own and outshot Montreal 22-13 over the final two periods.

The Blues pulled even when Brayden Schenn scored a power-play goal at 16:31. The Blues had three consecutive power plays in the third period and it seemed inevitable they would click on one of them.

The  Montreal penalty-killing unit is still a work in progress. St. Louis managed five shots on five power plays, but two of those shots  went in the net. Vince Dunn scored on a shot from the blue-line for the first goal. There was traffic in front of Carey Price, but this was a shot that should have been stopped.

The Blues got an early idea of what they would be dealing with when the Canadiens used their speed to take a 1-0 lead after only 39 seconds. Artturi Lehkonen sent Max Domi off on a breakaway and he stayed one stride ahead of Vladimir Tarasenko before putting a backhander past Jake Allen for his first goal of the season.

The Canadiens went 1-for-4 on the power play, but it would be a mistake to suggest this unit is firing on all cylinders. The Canadiens were having trouble mounting an attack when two individual plays led to the goal that gave Montreal a 2-1 lead at 7:42 of the second period. Charles Hudon made a good play to keep Jonathan Drouin’s pass in the St. Louis zone. And defenceman Mike Reilly, who had the other assist on the opening goal, wristed a puck past Allen for his first goal as a Canadien.

The Canadiens continue to play a solid defensive game. There was one breakdown in the defensive zone that resulted in a 2-on-1 advantage for the Blues, but luck was on Montreal’s side when Jordan Kyrou’s shot hit a post.

There was one lineup change for this game as Karl Alzner made his season debut in place of Victor Mete. There have been questions about whether Alzner is quick enough to play the uptempo style employed by the Canadiens, but he turned in a solid effort.

There was a first-period fight that proved nothing other than why fighting should be banned. The Blues’ Pat Maroon was holding Jordie Benn in the St. Louis zone when he dropped his gloves. That led to about a minute of wrestling before the linesmen stepped in and called it a draw.

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